Striking New York nurses strike deal with hospitals

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NEW YORK — Two New York City hospitals have reached a tentative contract agreement with thousands of striking nurses, ending this week’s walkout that has disrupted patient care, officials announced Thursday.

Nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association walked out early Monday after management talks stalled at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Each of them has more than 1,000 beds and 3,500 or more nurses.

Nurses at both hospitals were scheduled to return to work Thursday morning, the union said.

The union has highlighted staffing as a key issue, saying nurses who have been working through the debilitating peak of the coronavirus pandemic are stretched thin because too many vacancies are open. Nurses say they have had to work overtime, serve twice as many patients as needed, and miss meals and even bathroom breaks.

The agreements with both hospitals include specific, enforceable staffing ratios, the union said. The deal with Montefiore also included what the union described as community health improvements and a nurse-student partnership to recruit local nurses from the Bronx.

“Through our unity and putting everything on the line, we were able to meet safe staffing ratios at both Montefiore and Mount Sinai, where nurses went on strike over patient care,” said NYSNA President Nancy Hagans. “Today, we can go back to work with our heads held high, knowing that our victory means safer care for our patients and more sustainable jobs for our profession.”

Private, for-profit hospitals say they are grappling with a widespread nursing shortage that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Our negotiation team worked around the clock with NYSNA leadership to reach an agreement,” Montefiore said in a statement. “From the beginning, we sat down at the table trying to negotiate in good faith and address issues that were a priority for our medical staff.”

The hospital said it focused on ensuring nurses have “the best working conditions with significant pay and benefits increases” through a deal with the union.

“We know this strike has affected everyone – not just our nurses – and we were committed to reaching a resolution as quickly as possible to minimize disruption to patient care,” the hospital said.

Mount Sinai said it was pleased to reach a preliminary agreement and that the strike was over.

“Our proposed agreement is similar to the agreement between NYSNA and eight other New York City hospitals. It is fair and responsible, and it puts patients first,” Mount Sinai Health System said.

Several other private hospitals across the city struck deals with the union as the strike deadline approached. The agreements provided for a 19% increase over three years.

Mount Sinai and Montefiore said before the strike that they had offered the same wage increase.

Striking New York nurses strike deal with hospitals

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