New York City public-sector nurses rally after strike at private hospitals

Members of the New York State Nurses Association, who work at public healthcare facilities in New York City, rallied Jan. 18 for a new contract.

The union represents about 9,000 NYC Health + Hospitals and mayoral nurses working in 11 hospitals, dozens of ambulatory care and primary care clinic settings, and four long-term care facilities, according to a NYSNA news release. NYC Health + Hospitals is the nation's largest public health system. Mayoral nurses care for first responders such as police and firefighters and provide direct care health services to those receiving assistance from city agencies. 

Union members' contract expires March 2. During negotiations, the NYSNA has said it seeks pay equity for its members and health equity for patients and communities.

"Our nurses in the public sector are under-resourced, understaffed and underpaid," NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, BSN, RN, said in a news release. "They do the same lifesaving work as nurses in the private sector, yet they are paid so much less — and the disparity in pay is only growing. We are all nurses. We demand health equity for our patients and communities, and we demand pay equity for the hardworking NYC Health + Hospitals and mayoral nurses."

The rally took place on the heels of a three-day strike by about 7,000 NYSNA members at two private New York City hospitals: Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. The strike began Jan. 9 and ended Jan. 12. The two hospitals involved in the strike, as well as other private hospitals in New York City, recently settled new agreements and tentative deals.

In a statement shared with Becker's, NYC Health + Hospitals said it "is grateful for the hard work, dedication and sacrifice our highly skilled nurses make every day. We look forward to negotiating a new contract with NYSNA when the current one expires in March and welcome new opportunities to strengthen our partnership with NYSNA and the nurses who are so essential to our mission and our system's success."

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