5 NYC hospitals still without agreement as strike looms

Negotiations are ongoing Jan. 6 as thousands of New York City nurses and five hospitals work to avert a planned strike. 

The New York State Nurses Association delivered 10-day strike notices Dec. 30 at eight New York City hospitals, including NewYork-Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides Medical Center, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center. 

As of Jan. 6, tentative agreements had been reached on behalf of 4,000 nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and about 1,300 nurses at Maimonides. A tentative agreement was also reached on behalf of 550 union members at Richmond University Medical Center, Bloomberg reported Jan. 5. This means about 10,000 nurses across five hospitals are prepared to strike Jan. 9 unless tentative agreements are reached. 

During negotiations, nurses have expressed their concerns about staffing levels and contend that hospitals are not doing enough to keep workers at the bedside in terms of things like staffing, pay and benefits.

"Our bosses created the understaffing crisis by failing to hire and retain nurses," NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, BSN, RN, said during a briefing Jan. 5, according to Bloomberg. "It's not just about compensation, it's about caring for patients, it's about safety."

Hospitals say they continue to negotiate in good faith. 

The Mount Sinai Hospital said it has offered the union the framework for a tentative agreement comparable to NewYork-Presbyterian's deal, including a 19.1 percent compounded raise over three years and increased payments by Mount Sinai to protect NYSNA pensions.

Meanwhile, Mount Sinai hospital leaders issued a memo to workers Jan. 4, saying it was preparing for a strike and would begin diverting a majority of ambulances away from Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside, Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Beth Israel. The memo also states that the system had started canceling some elective surgeries at Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside, and was "working to safely discharge as many patients as appropriate." Additionally, hospital leaders said NICU babies would be transferred outside the Mount Sinai Health System.

"We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair and responsible agreement with NYSNA and we remain confident a final agreement can swiftly be reached," hospital leaders said. "We have already reached tentative agreements on many critically important matters, including health insurance coverage, pensions, pandemic preparedness, paid holidays, on-the-job career advancement, and weekend-shift scheduling. It is imperative that we finalize an agreement soon."

According to a Jan. 6 union advisory, the three-year tentative deals at Maimonides and Richmond University medical centers include annual salary increases of 7 percent, 6 percent and 5 percent. The union said the Maimonides agreement also includes improved safe staffing ratios in several units, and the Richmond deal includes staffing gains via restrictions on non-nursing functions.

All tentative agreements reached at NewYork-Presbyterian, Maimonides and Richmond must be approved by union members. The union said voting at Maimonides will be completed Jan. 6, at NewYork-Presbyterian Jan. 7, and at Richmond on Jan. 9. 


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