Jan 9, 2023 - Health

Thousands of New York nurses go on strike

Nurses of the New York State Nurses Association attend a press conference on Jan. 13, 2022, in New York City. Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Nurses at two New York City hospitals began to strike on Monday after talks broke down between the union and hospital leaders overnight.

Driving the news: More than 7,000 nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx began striking at 6 a.m., an outcome city and state officials had pushed to avert.

  • Hospitals have postponed some elective procedures and Mount Sinai began transferring babies from its neonatal intensive care unit in preparation for the strike, CNN reported.

State of play: The conflict between New York City's major hospitals and their nurses is part of a nationwide movement that has seen a slew of healthcare workers launch strikes across the U.S.

  • Nurses at multiple New York City hospitals represented by New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) have been pushing for increased pay and staffing, saying they face conditions that are driving burnout.
  • Members at other hospitals in the city were able to come to agreements, including Mount Sinai Morningside and West Hospitals, where bargaining units finalized deals on Sunday afternoon.
  • Those agreements include compounded pay increases of roughly 19% over the next three years, as well as staffing standards enforcement and protected health care benefits, officials say.

What they are saying: Mount Sinai Hospital leaders said they are offering the same wage increases to nurses at their facility that have been ratified in NYSNA contracts at six other hospitals.

  • "We hope they will similarly rescind their strike notice at The Mount Sinai Hospital," per a Sunday statement from Mount Sinai.
  • "Despite Montefiore’s offer of a 19.1% compounded wage increase — the same offer agreed to at the wealthiest of our peer institutions — and a commitment to create over 170 new nursing positions … NYSNA's leadership has decided to walk away from the bedsides of their patients," the medical center said in a statement, per CNN.

Between the lines: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) called for "binding arbitration" between the parties bargaining at both hospitals.

  • "We will continue to work with partners and all parties so that New York City hospitals can continue to play their critical role in caring for New Yorkers," Hochul said in a statement.
  • "We call on Gov. Hochul to join us in putting patients over profits and to enforce existing nurse staffing laws," the union responded in a statement.
  • New York City set up a situation room to prepare for delayed or limited care during the strike, Politico reported.
Go deeper