NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Nurses at two New York City hospitals are on strike after last-minute negotiations failed, the New York State Nurses Association announced early Monday.
“After bargaining late into the night at Montefiore and Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday, no tentative agreements were reached,” the statement by the NYSNA said. “Today, more than 7,000 nurses at two hospitals are on strike for fair contracts that improve patient care.”
Picket lines were set to go up at 7 a.m. at four locations associated with the two hospitals. The union has scheduled a noon protest outside Mount Sinai.
Both hospitals have prepared backup plans to handle the situation.
Mayor Eric Adams says the city has a situation room standing ready and advised people to only call 911 if they truly need emergency care.
The strike comes after two other hospitals, Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West, reached tentative agreements with the union on Sunday.
An NYSNA statement said, “Today, Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside reached a settlement, subject to ratification, with NYSNA union leadership and NYSNA has rescinded its strike notice at those sites. This agreement includes the identical 19.1 percent wage increases in agreements that have already been accepted by six other hospitals, and officially ratified by NewYork-Presbyterian and Maimonides.
They’re fighting for better pay and staffing and if no agreement is reached by 6 a.m. Monday, 7,100 nurses will go on strike. On Sunday night, Governor Hochul called for binding arbitration to eliminate the treat of a strike.
Mayor Eric Adams released a statement Sunday night preparing the city for a potential strike.
The statement said in part,
“Nurses stand on the frontlines of our health care system, and we all were witness to their heroic actions during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are encouraged that most New York City hospitals have reached tentative agreements to avert a nurses’ strike and ask that all of the parties remain at the bargaining table for however long it takes to reach a voluntary agreement. We are simultaneously continuing to closely monitor the effect that a strike would have at the remaining handful of hospitals that have not yet reached a deal. In the event of a strike, our system will be prepared to meet the challenges.”
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans says these agreements aren’t up to the nurses. They are up to the bosses.
“We are here to negotiate in good faith to make sure that the nurses have enough resources to care for the patients. It’s not up to the nurses. It’s up to the bosses to sit there and come up with a fair contract for so our nurses could continue to care for our patients,” Hagans said in Sunday’s press conference.
The biggest issue with the looming strike is the adverse nurse to patient ratio.
If a new contract is not reached by the deadline, the hospitals that could be affected by a strike include Mount Sinai, and Montefiore.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Our bosses created the understaffing classes by failing to hire and retain enough nurses out of facilities, leaving the rest of us to work short staffed. Hospitals haven’t done enough to keep nurses at the bedside,” Hagans said.
Montefiore emergency room nurses have complained of having to care for patients in the hallways, while an area with more than 30 beds remains empty, due in part to staff levels.
“Mount Sinai hospital alone has over 500 nursing vacancies as of this week, and the neonatal ICU nurses are regularly forced to take on three sick babies to care for when the standard is one to one or one to,” Hagans added.
Hagans says just like Mount Sinai, Montefiore has ridiculously high nursing vacancies. Emergency room nurses are left to take care of about 20 patients, instead of a standard 3 patients at a time.
On Sunday, Mount Sinai agreed to come back to the conversation with the NYSNA nurses. Representatives of the hospital walked out of a negotiation session earlier this week as the potential strike grew closer.
Hagans says the union and executive members at Mount Sinai will hopefully continue to bargain Sunday afternoon.
“When they don’t have access to primary care, they come into our emergency rooms which causes the overcrowding,” Montefiore Nurse Practitioner Johnira Delone-Florian said. “And that space can be used for those patients to be taken out of the hallways and put into a bed, like everyone else.”
Mount Sinai began moving some vulnerable patients, including fragile newborns under intensive care, in the midst of this looming strike. Other strike contingency plans include canceling non-emergency procedures.
In an internal memo, Mount Sinai informed staff of “aggressive planning in response” to the strike threat, which will include “diverting a majority of ambulances,” beginning “to cancel some elective surgeries … will perform emergency surgery only,” “starting to transfer patients” to other hospitals and “working to safely discharge as many patients as appropriate.”
Dr. Frances Cartwright is Mount Sinai’s chief nursing officer.
“Talk about vulnerable patients, defenseless little babies,” Cartwright said. “We can’t wait until Monday, we have to plan. I sure am hoping for the best, but you have to plan for the worst.”
“We did serve them a 10 day notice…Our goal is to continue to keep our patients safe. We matter regardless of their zip code. Regardless of their financial status. Every patient should be treated as a VIP,” Hagans said.
Nurses have been offered raises of nearly 20 percent, but they also want improved staffing levels.
“Right now we are bargaining for the safe patient-nurse ratios at the other hospitals, including Mount Sinai,” NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said. “We are urging Mount Sinai to come back to the table and negotiate with our nurses, negotiate in good faith, walking away in the middle of negotiations is negotiating in bad faith, she said earlier this weekend.
Mount Sinai has offered its nurses 18% wage increases over the next three years, according to an internal memo shared Thursday night. The increases would be 7%, 6%, and 5% over the next three years, which year to year compounds to 19.1%.
The hospital believes it is similar to increases previously agreed to by the nurses in negotiations with NewYork-Presbyterian.
Similarly, Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx says it offered an 18% wage increase, as well as “fully funded healthcare for life, and a significant increase in registered nurses in the emergency departments.”
Friday morning, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul commented on the situation, saying she has taken a “very intense role” in the talks and has been “in constant conversation” with the hospitals and union.
“My full expectation is that this will be resolved because there is no alternative,” she said. “We need to make sure that people in New York are taken care of.”
The NYSNA has made clear that a key negotiating point surrounding its stated main issue of staffing is the enforcement of staffing ratios.
A provision in the NY-Presbyterian contract requires enforcement of staff-to-patient ratios, instead of a mediator making non-mandatory recommendations about staffing levels.
The union announced agreements Thursday with Maimonides Health and Richmond University Medical Center.
ALSO READ: NYC mayor calls out de Blasio for team’s criticism of administration
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News
Copyright © 2023 . All Rights Reserved.
Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News
The post Nurses at 2 NYC hospitals on strike after negotiations fail appeared first on WorldNewsEra.