Physicians set to strike at New York City hospital

Members of the Committee of Interns and Residents are set to begin a five-day strike May 22 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 for about a year, according to a May 15 news release from the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union. Union members voted in favor of authorizing a strike May 2.

Union members contend that Mount Sinai is refusing to bring the physicians' salaries up to parity with Mount Sinai Hospital residents or to agree to hazard pay language for the physicians.

"It feels so unjust that we, as largely immigrant doctors serving this working class immigrant community in Queens, have to beg to get what we need to pay our rent, and from a corporation like Mount Sinai that touts its commitment to New York communities," Tanathun Kajornsakchai, MD, said in the union release. "Mount Sinai should invest in the doctors caring for so many people in Queens who cannot get care anywhere else."

The health system shared the following statement with Becker's earlier this month: "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."

Becker's reached out to Mount Sinai and will update this story if a new comment is received. 

A strike could be averted if an agreement is reached. Members of the Committee of Interns and Residents at Jamaica and Flushing hospitals in New York City recently reached a tentative agreement, averting a planned strike at those facilities.

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