Harlem Hospital Braces for Possible Doctors Strike

Unionized doctors at Harlem Hospital meet Thursday to decide whether to strike over the benefits package in a proposed contract.

The doctors already voted to authorize the work stoppage. They object to a new pension that isn't as generous as the current one and a proposal to phase out a special program that pays full tution for doctors' children to attend Columbia University or half-tuition at other schools.

The Health and Hospitals Corporation, the city agency that operates Harlem Hospital, says doctors are getting a deal comparable to what their get at HHC's ten other hospitals.

HHC says it is making contingency plans in case there is a strike -- including shifting staff to make sure the Emergency Room and other crucial departments are covered.