Hochul seeks to avert NYC nurses strike as hospitals brace for Monday walk-out


Gov. Kathy Hochul is attempting to avert a nurses strike at two of New York City’s largest hospitals as negotiations remain unresolved on the eve of a threatened walk-out.

Roughly 7,000 nurses across Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center were poised to strike on Monday morning, even as the union representing them announced tentative agreements with two other Mount Sinai facilities on Sunday.

The threat has left hospital administrators and city officials scrambling to divert ambulances and transfer patients, including newborns, away from the impacted facilities. Elective surgeries at both hospitals are currently postponed.

In a statement on Sunday night lamenting the “outstanding issues at Montefiore and Mount Sinai,” Hochul said she was “calling for binding arbitration so that all parties can swiftly reach a resolution.”

“We will continue to work with partners and all parties so that New York City hospitals and nurses can continue to play their critical role in caring for New Yorkers,” she said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the governor’s push for arbitration would have an impact on the looming strike, which would begin on Monday if a deal is not reached by 6 a.m.

In consecutive statements on Sunday night, leaders of both Mount Sinai and Montefiore said they were “grateful” for the governor’s suggestion, and called on the New York State Nurses Association to drop their plans to strike.

“We expect that NYSNA will now rescind its strike notice so we can continue to work on an agreement and Mount Sinai nurses can continue caring for their patients,” Kenneth L. Davis, the CEO of Mount Sinai Health System, said in a statement.

A representative for NYSNA did not immediately provide a comment on the prospect of arbitration.

In recent days, the nurses union has announced tentative agreements with several hospitals, including Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside on Sunday. The deal would lead to an 18% wage increase over three years, along with improved staffing ratios, according to the union.

But while nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore have received similar compensation offers, deals had yet to be reached as of Sunday evening.

At a press conference on Sunday, NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said the nurses were holding out for a deal that would improve care for patients, as well as staff.

“We have said our number one issue is the crisis of chronic understaffing that harms patient care,” she said.

Frances Cartwright, the chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Hospital, acknowledged the hospital had dealt with severe staffing issues in recent years. But she told Gothamist on Sunday she remained confused why a deal hadn’t been reached for the 3,500 nurses at Mount Sinai.

“If you have all of these hospitals all agreeing to the same salary, which is very generous, which truly gives the message in a demonstrable way that we respect our nurses, I’d have to ask that question: why are we not?”


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