Two hospitals have reached a preliminary contract agreement with thousands of striking nurses, the nursing union announced Thursday.
The nurses, represented by the New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA), began the walkouts early Monday after negotiations with managers stalled at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, and Montefiore Medical Center, in the Bronx. Each has a thousand beds and 3,500 or more unionized nurses.
The union had stressed that understaffing was one of its main concerns, noting that the nurses who endured the hardship of the coronavirus pandemic were overstretched because there were too many unfilled positions. Nurses say they have had to work overtime, handle twice as many patients as they should, and skip meals and even bathroom breaks.
“With our unity and risking it all, we won binding safe staffing ratios at both Montefiore and Mount Sinai, where nurses went on strike over patient care,” union president Nancy Hagans said in a statement. . “Today we can return to work with our heads held high, knowing that our victory means safer care for our patients and more sustainable jobs for our profession.”
The hospitals, privately owned and not-for-profit, said they had been dealing with a widespread shortage of nursing staff made worse by the pandemic.
“Our negotiating team has worked non-stop with the leadership of the NYSNA to reach an agreement,” the Montefiore said in a statement. “From the beginning, we came to the table committed to negotiating in good faith and addressing the issues that were priorities for our nursing staff.”
The hospital said it had focused on ensuring nurses had “the best possible working environment, with significant improvements in pay and benefits” through the agreement with the union.
“We know that this strike affected everyone – not just our nurses – and we were committed to reaching a resolution as soon as possible to minimize interference with patient care,” the medical center added.
Other private hospitals in the city reached agreements with the union as the deadline for the strike expired. The agreements included salary increases amounting to a total of 19% over three years.
A post on the Mount Sinai website indicated that the hospital was pleased to have reached a preliminary agreement with the union. The Associated Press emailed a representative of the center for comment.
Monte Sinai and Montefiore said before the strike that they had offered the same raises.
Source: El Nuevo Herald