More than 7K New York nurses wage strike
Dive Brief: More than 7,000 nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx in New York began an indefinite strike Monday after failing to reach an agreement with the systems on new contracts, according to an announcement from the New York State Nurses Association. Nurses at eight New York hospitals originally intended to strike, though six of those hospitals made deals avoiding work stoppages. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday night called for binding arbitration to avert the strike, which the two hospitals agreed to, though the union rejected the offer, according to a union release. Dive Insight:
About 16,000 nurses at the eight hospitals originally intended to strike as they renegotiate their contract agreements for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Along with other nurses across the country, they are working to obtain conditions to improve staffing amid multiple shortages and increases to better recruit and retain needed staff.
Ultimately, two hospitals failed to reach agreements meeting nurses’ demands in time to stop the strikes: Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx, despite continued bargaining over the weekend, according to NYSNA.
Montefiore’s latest offer included a 19.1% pay increase over the course of a three-year contract, along with the addition of 170 new nursing positions, according to an emailed statement from the system.
“We remain committed to unwavering and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership’s decision will instill fear and uncertainty throughout our community,” the system said in a statement.
Montefiore and Mount Sinai Hospital in recent days have prepared for the work stoppage by discharging patients, bringing in substitute nurses, delaying elective procedures and diverting ambulances, according to reports from The New York Times.
The union said in a statement that despite the strike, those seeking medical care should not hesitate to get the care they need.
“We appreciate the solidarity from our patients — but going to the hospital to get the care you need is NOT crossing our stroke limit,” the statement said.
In the week before the work stoppage, agreements were made that avoided strikes at six other hospitals: New-York Presbyterian, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Bronx Care Health System, Maimonides and Richmond University Medical Centers.
The agreements include raises and terms to improve staffing standards, with exact terms varying by facility, according to the union.
The agreements reached at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Mount Sinai Morningside and West and NewYork-Presbyterian include increases of 7% in the first year of the contract, 6% in the second and 5% in the third.
A key point of contention in the negotiations has been over New York State’s staffing law it passed last year, requiring hospitals and nursing homes to form clinical committees charged with setting annual staffing standards for the units.
Union leaders said implementation and enforcement is still unclear, however. NYSNA is pushing for stronger terms in contract agreements and for a statewide minimum standard.