Talks continue at 5 New York City hospitals as nurses strike deadline looms

Talks continue at 5 New York City hospitals as nurses strike deadline looms

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Negotiations continue Friday ahead of a Monday strike deadline involving thousands of New York City nurses.

Approximately 10,000 nurses at five hospitals say they will strike on Monday unless they get better pay and staff.

The nurses were due to go on strike at 6am on Monday. Nurses are prepared to negotiate until 11.59pm on Sunday night and beat the midnight deadline if possible.

New York State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagans said the remaining hospitals are negotiating, except for the main Mount Sinai campus.

“Right now we are negotiating safe patient-nurse ratios at other hospitals, including Mount Sinai,” Hagans said. “We are calling on Mount Sinai to come back to the table and negotiate with our nurses, negotiate in good faith, walking away in the middle of negotiations is negotiating in bad faith.”

Mount Sinai has offered its nurses a 19.1% pay raise over the next three years, according to an internal memo released Thursday night. The increases will be 7%, 6% and 5% over the next three years.

The hospital believes it is similar to the increase previously agreed to by nurses in negotiations with NewYork-Presbyterian. But Mount Sinai management walked away from the table at midnight and canceled the bargaining session for Friday, Hagans said.

Similarly, Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx says it offered an 18% pay increase, as well as “fully funded health care for life and a significant increase in registered nurses in emergency departments.”

In an internal memo, Mount Sinai informed staff of “aggressive planning in response” to the strike threat, which will include “diverting the majority of ambulances,” beginning “to cancel some select surgeries … will perform only emergency surgery,” “begin transferring patients” to other hospitals, and “work to safely discharge as many patients as necessary.”

These measures can start as early as Friday.

PHOTO: NICU Mount Sinai on Friday, January 6, 2023.

On Friday morning, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul commented on the situation, saying she has taken a “very intensive role” in the talks and has been “in constant conversation” with hospitals and unions.

“My full expectation is that this will be resolved, because there is no alternative,” she said. “We have to make sure that people in New York care.”

The New York State Nurses Association made it clear Thursday that a key negotiating point around the stated top staffing issue is the implementation of staffing ratios.

A provision in the NY Presbyterian contract requires staffing-to-patient ratios to be implemented, rather than an intermediary making non-binding recommendations on staffing levels.

It is not clear when negotiations with Mount Sinai will resume.

In all, more than 10,000 nurses are employed by the five hospital systems still negotiating with the union.

The union announced the agreements Thursday with Maimonides Health and Richmond University Medical Center.

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