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East Harlem Nurses, on 24-Hour Strike, Demand Staffing Relief

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TWC News: East Harlem Nurses, on 24-Hour Strike, Demand Staffing Relief
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Nurses at East Harlem's Terrence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center took part in a 24-hour strike Friday over what they call unfair labor practices.

The 600-bed facility provides long and short term treatment for patients with a range of needs.

Nurses say they are concerned about illegal practices and unsafe staffing levels. At times, they say the nurse to patient ratio is 28:1.

"We stand united send a message that we are serious about the staffing which is a chronic problem," said Registered Nurse Xin Liu.

The strike was organized by the New York State Nurses Association who say the management has been unwilling to make a deal. However, a spokesman for Archcare - the healthcare system of the New York Archdiocese that the center falls under - says they are ready to talk.

"We are fighting for safe staffing and we make sure that the residents here are given patient quality care that they are supposed to receive. And we are very concerned about their safety," said Fe Condeno-Lontoc of the New York State Nurses Association.

"Our hope is that we can get back to the bargaining table. That the nurses can put the political issues behind them and that we can work constructively to reach an agreement," said Terrence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center Spokesman Jon Goldberg.

The nurses say they are negotiating a new union contract.

The previous one expired on December 31, 2013.

Officials with the health care center say they have reached out to federal mediators to help both sides come to an agreement.

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