For the past year The New York State Nurses Association and Mohawk Valley Health System have been in contract negotiations. Now, one side is taking it to the streets, literally.

Within the past two weeks red signs have been popping up all around the neighborhood close to St. Elizabeth's in Utica. The message on the signs is clear and concise, "Listen To Your Nurses." Other signs read "Smart Hiring Saves Lives." According to Mohawk Valley Health System officials:

"St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC) is negotiating a new contract with the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). SEMC registered nurses have been represented by NYSNA for many years and we have reached numerous contract agreements. In the current round of contract negotiations, we have had 23 bargaining sessions and the parties have reached tentative agreements on more than 40 items. Our negotiating team and the administration of SEMC respect the bargaining process and are committed to bargaining in good faith. We believe that the NYSNA team representing SEMC does as well."

A request for comment from NYSNA has been issued, but not returned. The goal in any contract negotiation is to make sure both parties walk away happy, but this most recent snag has urged one side to take a very public step. Hopefully all this can be resolved soon so that the care of patients doesn't take a back seat.

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