17,000 New York City nurses begin voting on possible strike

Members of the New York State Nurses Association have begun voting on whether to give their bargaining teams the ability to call a strike.

The voting, which started Dec. 9, involves union members from 12 private hospitals in New York City, according to an NYSNA statement shared with Becker's. If nurses authorize a strike, they still must give hospitals 10 days' notice before a strike would occur.

Union members at the facilities are working under contracts that expire on Dec. 31.

"Members are frustrated with the pace and progress of negotiations," the NYSNA said in its statement. "… Nurses are demanding safe staffing, fair wages, and quality health benefits. These are essential components to address the nurse staffing crisis and improve quality care for our patients. We don't take striking lightly. Striking is always a last resort. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option." 

Hospitals said they are negotiating in good faith and also hope to avert a strike.

A Montefiore spokesperson told Becker's: "Our nurses are the backbone of Montefiore and critical to providing the compassionate, patient-centered care everyone has come to trust from Montefiore. Since the beginning of negotiations, we have come to the table in good faith with the goal of reaching an equitable contract. We hope the union's leadership will join us in our commitment to our nurses and patients and avert an unnecessary strike."

A spokesperson for Mount Sinai Health System told Becker's hospital administration has been actively engaged with nurses during this bargaining period. She also pointed to a website where the health system is posting details and ongoing updates about those discussions. Read more here.

NewYork-Presbyterian provided the following statement: "We respect and value all of our nurses, who play a central role in delivering the exceptional care that NewYork-Presbyterian is known for. We remain hopeful that union leadership shares our dedication to reaching a fair and reasonable contract agreement, and we continue to bargain in good faith. All necessary preparations are being made to ensure that, in the event of any work stoppage by the union in January, our patients at NYP Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NYP Allen Hospital, and NYP Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital continue to receive the same high-quality care, without interruption, in keeping with our fundamental obligation to the communities we serve."

The possible strike comes as the union has been engaged in a public campaign at healthcare facilities ahead of contract expiration dates. The public awareness campaign involves private and public sector nurses with contracts expiring on Dec. 31 or in early 2023. This includes nurses at the 12 New York City hospitals.


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