MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – The Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla announced Friday that it will follow through on the layoff of 250 employees, including 132 registered nurses, due to budget cuts.
Sam Caquias, New York State Nurses Association President of the Local Bargaining Unit for the medical center, said the layoffs will be effective as of Dec. 31. Negotiations for a new contract for the nurses have been ongoing and as of Nov. 30 the registered nurses declared an impasse forcing negotiations to move to mediation. Despite this, Caquias said in a phone interview Friday that he fears more layoffs may still be coming
“The medical center states that even with these cuts there’s still a considerable gap in the budget,” Caquias said. “And there may be more layoffs in the summer time they said if things are still dire.”
Messages left with the Westchester Medical Center were not returned Friday.
The number of layoffs is down from the numbers originally announced by the medical center. In late October, the medical center stated that 650 jobs would be eliminated, including up to 250 registered nurses.
Caquias said neither the nurses nor the Civil Service Employees workers have been provided lists of which employees will be cut or the reasoning behind how the employees will be chosen.
“Neither of us have been given a list of who’s going to be laid off,” Caquias said. “The real question we have is that there could be people that have seniority here that could potentially be let go.”
Caquias believes the quality provided by the hospital will surely drop.
“It’s like the gears in a watch, if you remove something from that system, even just one little piece, the entire thing is going to be affected,” Caquias said. “It could be bedside treatment, it could be an experienced nurse educating a new nurse, we don’t know yet.”
Caquias said the nurses association will reach out to county legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in order to seek external monetary assistance.