- More than 7,000 nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx in New York started an open-ended strike Monday after failing to reach a deal with the systems on new contracts, according to a release from the New York State Nurses Association.
- Nurses at eight New York hospitals originally intended to strike, though six of those hospitals made deals averting work stoppages.
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday night called for binding arbitration to avoid the strike, which the two hospitals agreed to, though the union did not accept the offer, according to a union release.
Some 16,000 nurses across the eight hospitals initially intended to strike while renegotiating their contract agreements for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Along with other nurses across the country, they’re working to get terms to improve staffing amid widespread shortages and raises to better recruit and retain needed staff.
Ultimately, two hospitals failed to reach deals meeting nurses’ demands in time to stop strikes: Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx, despite continued bargaining over the weekend, according to the NYSNA.
Montefiore’s latest offer included a 19.1% compounded wage 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 seamless and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership’s decision will spark fear and uncertainty across our community,” the system said in the statement.
Montefiore and Mount Sinai Hospital in recent days have prepared for the work stoppage by discharging patients, bringing in replacement 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 attention should not hesitate to get needed care.
“We appreciate solidarity from our patients — but going into the hospital to get the care you need is NOT crossing our strike line,” the statement said.
In the week leading up to the work stoppage, deals were made averting 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 deals include raises and terms to improve staffing standards, with exact terms varying by facility, according to the union.
Deals made at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Mount Sinai Morningside and West and NewYork-Presbyterian include raises of 7% in the first year of the contract, 6% in the second and 5% in the third.
A key point of contention in negotiations has been around New York state’s staffing law that passed last year, requiring hospitals and nursing homes to form clinical committees tasked with setting annual staffing standards for units.
Union leaders said implementation and enforcement is still spotty, however. NYSNA is pushing stronger terms in contract agreements and for a minimum standard throughout the state.