The New York State Nurses Association said it expects its members to vote to authorize a strike Thursday. The strike would affect Montefiore, Mount Sinai and New York–Presbyterian hospitals.
The union is fighting for hospitals to codify nurse-to-patient ratios in the contract—which would increase facilities' staffing costs.
An affirmative strike vote would allow the union to issue 10-day strike notices to hospitals so that they can prepare contingency plans. The union said it expects to issue such notices this month.
The nurses association has said the staffing ratios are necessary to resolve more than 2,500 complaints—protests of assignments—from nurses at the three health systems. The complaints depict conditions in which staffing shortages jeopardized the quality of patient care. A spokesman for the hospital alliance noted that the complaints represented just 0.1% of all scheduled shifts last year.
"We support a patient-first approach to staffing that is built on tailored, flexible staffing plans—designed by experienced nurses—that have proven to best meet the individual and ever-changing needs of patients," the spokesman said on Wednesday. He said in the case of a strike hospitals would be "required to move forward with our plans to bring in trained and qualified replacement nurses."
The nurses' contract with the New York City Hospital Alliance, a bargaining group that includes the three health systems, ended Dec. 31. The hospitals are continuing to honor the previous contract, which was approved in 2015.