Thousands of nurses at New York Metropolis hospitals went on strike Monday morning. The labor motion has already begun to disrupt well being care providers at Montefiore Medical Heart within the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem, the place about 7,100 members of the New York State Nurses Affiliation (NYSNA) may be part of the picket line.
The nurses are placing as they negotiate for increased pay and elevated staffing of their first new contracts because the COVID-19 pandemic started. NYSNA members have reached contract agreements with a number of different hospitals throughout the 5 boroughs in latest days, narrowly avoiding comparable strikes.
Which hospitals are affected by the strike?
Nurses are strolling off the job at Mount Sinai’s essential hospital in Harlem and at Montefiore Medical Heart within the Bronx. Picket strains have been scheduled to begin 7 a.m. Monday morning. The Montefiore services embrace the Kids’s Hospital at Montefiore, as properly as the Weiler, Moses and Westchester Sq. campuses.
The New York State Nurses Affiliation first introduced a plan to strike at these and different medical facilities final month if the union couldn’t attain an settlement with hospital directors. Since then, the union has landed contract offers with Richmond College Medical Heart, Flushing Hospital Medical Heart, BronxCare Well being System, Maimonides Medical Heart, New York-Presbyterian and two different hospital areas within the Mount Sinai Well being System. Some of these offers have already been ratified by union members whereas others are nonetheless up for a vote.
Late Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul, whose workplace has been concerned with the negotiations, tried a remaining manuever to stop a strike. She steered that the hospitals and the union agree to enter a binding arbitration deal, which might have continued bargaining discussions and canceled the strike.
Each Mount Sinai and Montefiore said that they’d agree to an arbitration plan.
NYSNA didn’t, and, in a press release, referred to as on Hochul to “listen to frontline COVID nurse heroes and respect our federally-protected labor and collective bargaining rights.” Mount Sinai stated that NYSNA leaders left the bargaining desk early Monday morning, shortly after 1 a.m.
Nevertheless, these aren’t the one New York Metropolis hospitals which can be bargaining over new contracts. Nurses at Wyckoff Heights Medical Heart in Brooklyn have issued a strike discover for Jan. 17 if negotiations there proceed to stall.
How will affected person providers be impacted at placing hospitals?
Each Montefiore and Mount Sinai introduced plans to postpone elective surgical procedures at their affected services forward of the strike. Montefiore additionally started working over the weekend to discharge “as many patients as appropriate,” in accordance to a planning doc shared with Gothamist by a hospital spokesperson.
Within the days main up to the strike, Mount Sinai made efforts to switch some sufferers to different services, together with new child infants.
Each hospitals are additionally searching for to have ambulances diverted to different medical facilities. Kate Good, a spokesperson for Metropolis Corridor, stated forward of the strikes that the town fireplace division “has contingency plans in place to reroute ambulances and NYC Health + Hospitals has emergency strategies to handle a surge in patients.”
Why are the nurses placing?
Nurses are preventing for higher well being advantages and better pay, however they are saying they’re most involved with staffing ranges.
“Our bosses created the understaffing crisis by failing to hire and retain enough nurses … leaving the rest of us to work short staffed,” Nancy Hagans, president of the New York State Nurses Affiliation, stated in a digital press convention on Sunday morning. “The hospital is often so overcrowded that patients are admitted in beds in the hallway instead of hospital rooms.”
At Mount Sinai Hospital, there have been greater than 600 nurse vacancies as of mid-December, in accordance to a doc shared with Gothamist by a nurse on the facility.
Frances Cartwright, the chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Hospital, stated the well being system is working to fill open positions — and stated directors ought to concentrate on doing that earlier than committing to extra hires. She added that staffing points will not be distinctive to Mount Sinai. “We are in a national workforce crisis,” she stated.
Hagans stated at Sunday’s press convention that Montefiore presently has greater than 700 nursing vacancies — at occasions leaving one nurse within the emergency division to take care of 20 sufferers at a time.
Montefiore didn’t reply to a request for remark about staffing points.
How lengthy will the strike final?
It’s nonetheless unclear how lengthy the strike will final as negotiations are ongoing. Hospital employee strikes have taken place throughout the nation over the previous couple of years – lasting from simply 24 hours to almost 300 days.