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New York City nurses threaten hospital strike

*News Update*

The New York Nurses Association announced an end to their strike after reaching separate agreements with Mount Sinai Hospital and two other hospitals. In a press release, the nurses union said that the “historic” deal will enforce financial penalties if the staffing ratios are not met. Mount Sinai’s statement said, of the deal, “It is fair and responsible, and it puts patients first.”

Fresh off the start of the new year, nurses in New York City are threatening to strike this week if their salary and staffing demands are not met by the city’s hospitals.  

The New York Nurses Association (NYNA), which claims to represent 42,000 members, gave city hospitals a ten-day notice of a potential strike on December 30, 2022. The nurses union said it wants higher salaries, increased benefits and increases in the number of nurses on staff.

Montefiore Medical Center, BronxCare Health System, and four private hospitals in Brooklyn continue negotiations with nurses, while Flushing Hospital Medical Center reached a tentative agreement on January 6. Three other hospitals, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, and Richmond University Medical Center also reached tentative agreements with the nurses union.

However, during negotiations with Mount Sinai, NYNA management walked away from the bargaining table during salary discussions and blamed the hospital for not discussing staffing demands.

“Striking is always a last resort,” said Matt Allen, NYNA’s at-large director and nurse at Mount Sinai, “We’ve done everything we could to avoid a strike.” Allen claimed, “Management has pushed us to the breaking point by refusing to listen to the alarms we’ve been sounding about chronic understaffing that puts our patients at risk.”

Mount Sinai released a statement noting that it offered a 19.1% compounded wage increase over three years, similar to NYNA’s agreement with the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. The hospital also explained that it was forced to cancel some elective surgeries and move patients, including newborns, to other hospitals in preparation for the potential strike. The hospital called NYNA’s tactics “reckless” and “jeopardizing patients’ care.”

Spencer Irvine

Spencer Irvine is Senior Writer & Researcher at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Spencer previously worked in state government, in communications for a non-profit advocacy organization, and held various administrative and communications roles at a media analysis organization. He has a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University. He lives in Arizona with his wife, is an avid history buff and enjoys touring historic sites.