17,000 NYC nurses authorized to strike if union contract negotiations are not reached with hospitals

New York City hospitals are not immune from the crush of inflation and the nurses union has authorized a strike for the new year if contract negotiations are not finalized.

Over 17,000 nurses at 12 hospitals including Montefiore, Mount Sinai and NewYork-Presbyterian have contracts expiring December 31 with no new contract agreement on the table for 2023.

Nurses say hospitals are short-staffed and not doing enough for patients as COVID, RSV and the flu run rampant.

“Many of us were traumatized by what we saw and by the conditions we have been working under since the pandemic began,” psychiatric RN Ari Moma said. “Understaffing makes everything worse.”

The New York State Nurses Association held a vote in which nearly 99% of nurses have voted to authorize a strike.

“We don’t take striking lightly,” NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said. “Striking is always a last resort. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option. Nurses have been to hell and back, risking our lives to save our patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes without the PPE we needed to keep ourselves safe, and too often without enough staff for safe patient care.

The union claims the hospitals have increased fees for healthcare services, but not filling staffing gaps or properly paying nurses for their work throughout the pandemic.

“Right now, we are facing a tripledemic of COVID, flu and RSV. Our pediatric ER is overflowing and short-staffed on almost all shifts,” pediatric ER nurse Aretha Morgan said. “It is unbearable to see children suffer because we don’t have enough staff to provide safe patient care.

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