On Monday morning more than 7,000 nurses in the New York State Nurses Association at Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital went on strike after they failed to reach contract renewal agreements with their hospitals following 10-day strike notices issued at the end of last year.
Since beginning contract negotiations in September nurses have fought for better wages and safer staff-to-patient ratios, which can be different at each hospital, according to the nurses association. On Sunday, NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said that staffing ratios were the main sticking point between the nurses and hospitals that still had not reached agreements. She said that Mount Sinai Hospital leadership walked out of negotiations on Friday and Saturday before returning to the table Sunday.
As of Sunday night, when agreements had still not been reached, Gov. Kathy Hochul called for binding arbitration between all parties to reach a resolution quickly. Montefiore released a statement saying the hospital was prepared to move forward with the arbitration process. The nurses association released a statement calling on Hochul to enforce existing staffing laws.
Montefiore on Monday morning said its nurses could not agree with the hospital management offer, which was modeled after a ratified New York-Presbyterian contract.
“Despite Montefiore’s offer of a 19.1% compounded wage increase-–the same offer agreed to at the wealthiest of our peer institutions-–and a commitment to create over 170 new nursing positions, and despite a call from Gov. Hochul for arbitration, NYSNA’s leadership has decided to walk away from the bedsides of their patients,” a Montefiore representative said. “We remain committed to seamless and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership’s decision will spark fear and uncertainty across our community. This is a sad day for New York City.”
On Sunday night Mayor Eric Adams released a statement about the strike, detailing that the city Fire Department has contingency plans to reroute ambulances from the hospitals where nurses are striking. New York City Health + Hospitals has emergency strategies to handle a patient surge, he said, adding that the city is working with private and public organizations, such as the Greater New York Hospital Association, to manage patient care during the strike.
Strikes were avoided by reaching agreements at New York-Presbyterian, BronxCare, the Brooklyn Hospital Center, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West, Maimonides and Richmond University Medical Center.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
This story first appeared in Crain's New York Business.