Public hospital nurses celebrating largest salary increase ever in new union contract

Nurses at public hospitals across the city just got their biggest salary increase ever, according to the New York State Nurses Association.
After months of negotiations, the union reached a contract deal with NYC Health + Hospitals for its 8,000 member nurses. The new contract includes safer staffing ratios; salary increases of 3%, 3% and 3.25% in years three, four, and five of the contract; and pay parity increases of $16,006 in year one and $5,551 in year two.
These pay parity increases will make the salaries of nurses at Health + Hospitals comparable to nurses who work at private hospitals. 
"Public hospitals are always asked to do more with less," said longtime nurse Sonia Lawrence, who is also the president of NYC Health + Hospitals/Mayorals nurses division. "Now we have leveled the playing field. We are more competitive, we can attract more homegrown nurses, we can retain our nurses and provide better care to the communities that we serve."
They say that public hospital nurses often care for the most underserved New Yorkers, including people who don't have insurance or are undocumented. Nurses tell News 12 that while this contract is a big step in the right direction, more work needs to be done to hire and retain experienced nurses at hospitals across the country. 
"We technically don't have a nurses shortage." Lawrence added. "What we have is a shortage of nurses, experienced nurses who are willing to work under these strenuous conditions."
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing says that more than 600,000 nurses plan to leave the industry by 2027.