NEW YORK (WPIX) — A strike has begun for more than 7,000 nurses across two New York City hospitals after extensive labor negotiations failed to produce a deal.
Nurses walked off at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx starting around 6 a.m. Monday.
In addition to better compensation, nurses have advocated for more staffing and better working conditions. About 10,000 more nurses at an additional six hospitals had also threatened to strike in recent weeks but were able to reach tentative deals ahead of the 6 a.m. Monday deadline.
In a statement issued early Monday ahead of the deadline, Montefiore said it had offered the New York State Nurses Association union pay bumps and staff increases comparable to other hospitals but that the union had walked away from the bargaining table.
“NYSNA’s leadership has decided to walk away from the bedsides of their patients,” the statement read in part. “This is a sad day for New York City.”
The union, meanwhile, has said that Montefiore is plagued by chronic understaffing, with 760 nurse job openings and current nurses asked to care for numbers of patients well in excess of the standard of care.
In a statement of its own issued early Monday, the NYSNA urged New Yorkers not to let the strike stop them from seeking the care they need.
“To all of our patients, to all New Yorkers, we want to be absolutely clear: If you are sick, please do not delay getting medical care, regardless of whether we are on strike,” the statement read in part. “We appreciate solidarity from our patients — but going into the hospital to get the care you need is NOT crossing our strike line.”
Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside are among the hospitals that reached tentative agreements with the union. The agreement includes a 19.1% wage increase over three years. The same deal was offered to nurses at The Mount Sinai Hospital, but negotiations are still underway.
Until a deal is reached, a Mount Sinai Hospital spokesperson says, the hospital has been forced to divert ambulances, postpone elective surgeries, and transfer babies in its neonatal intensive care unit to other hospitals.
Gov. Kathy Hochul stepped in Sunday, calling for binding arbitration to hammer out an agreement at the last two hospitals. Hochul said that state health officials would enforce staff requirements at both hospitals to ensure patients receive essential care.