Physicians may strike at 3rd New York City hospital

Members of the Committee of Interns and Residents have voted to authorize a strike at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City.

The union represents about 170 resident physicians who work at Elmhurst Hospital, an NYC Health + Hospitals site, and are employed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Union members have been in negotiations with Mount Sinai since July, according to a news release from the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union. Ninety-two percent of voting union members voted in favor of authorizing a strike, according to the release. The Committee of Interns and Residents contends that during negotiations, Mount Sinai has not met their demands around pay parity.

"Mount Sinai residents perform the same job across our hospitals," Tanathun Kajornsakchai, MD, said in the release. "Yet Mount Sinai is paying its union doctors who work in crucial safety-net hospitals less. Striking is the last thing that we want to do, but we feel we will have no choice if Mount Sinai does not address our demands."

Mount Sinai shared the following statement with Becker's: "Working with the NYC Health and Hospital Corp., we have offered a counter proposal to the SEIU resident physicians at Elmhurst Hospital ...The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the academic affiliate and sponsor for these educational training programs, and passes through to the residents a salary that is determined by NYC Health and Hospital Corp. We remain committed to working with NYC Health and Hospital Corp. and the residents to resolve the situation in a way that is fair and fiscally sustainable while ensuring that the residents’'clinical training is not disrupted."

A vote to authorize a strike does not mean a strike will occur. Union members would still have to give the hospital 10 days' notice.

Notice has already been given at New York City-based Jamaica and Flushing hospitals, where members of the Committee of Interns and Residents are set to begin a three-day strike May 15 if they are unable to reach a contract agreement with leadership.

If a strike occurs, it would come on the heels of a three-day strike by thousands of New York State Nurses Association members at the New York City hospitals. The strike began Jan. 9 and ended Jan. 12.

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