Disgruntled Coney Island Hospital doctors who threatened to strike aren’t ready to hit the picket lines just yet.
The unionized physicians and the city-selected private corporation that runs the hospital agreed last Thursday to continue contract negotiations for another month, avoiding a July walk-out that some said would be devastating to medical facility’s hundreds of patients.
“The doctors reached a settlement to extend their contract until July 30,” said Maureen Connelly, spokeswoman for the Doctors Council union, which represents physicians at city hospitals. “Negotiations will continue until then.”
Doctors, who had voted to strike as early as July 10, are outraged that the Physician Affiliate Group of New York is planning to slash services and jobs and force them to work longer hours.
The 200 unionized MDs maintain that any protests will help preserve quality medical care at the Ocean Parkway facility, but some patients say that the doctors are more concerned with job conditions than with the patients’ conditions.
“The strike would be for their own benefit,” said Elice Blynche, who gets regular check-ups at Coney Island Hospital.
But others are optimistic, saying that the deal to hold more bargaining sessions makes a strike unlikely.
“I really don’t think they’re going to strike,” said Estelle Abramowitz, a retired microbiologist who’s worked at the hospital for 30 years. “I just don‘t see it happening.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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