Some 12,000 New York City nurses are preparing to strike this month at seven local hospitals unless negotiators reach an agreement in ongoing contract talks.
Nurses delivered 10-day strike notices at facilities this weekend as hospital executives failed to settle the contracts, which may mean that nurses in the city will go on strike beginning Jan. 9.
Nancy Hagans, a registered nurse at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center and president of the New York State Nurses Association, said the nurses have no option but to strike.
“Unfortunately, after months of negotiations, our bosses have given us no other option than to exercise our right to strike,” she said.
“Striking is always a last resort, and we will continue to work around the clock to try to settle our contracts by January 9. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option.
“We have been through hell, risking our lives throughout the pandemic, and yet our bosses are still fighting against COVID nurse heroes. We don’t need anyone to clap for us now. We need fair union contracts that protect nurses and our patients.”
So far, nearly 4,000 New York State Nurses Association nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital reached a tentative agreement on a what the union said was a “fair contract” late on Saturday Dec. 31, hours before their contract expired and one day after delivering a 10-day notice to strike to hospital management.
But talks are still continuing with no agreement yet in sight at BronxCare Health System, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Maimonides Medical Center, Montefiore Bronx, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, and Richmond University Medical Center.
Nurses said they have been sounding the alarm for months about the short-staffing crisis that puts patients at risk, especially during a tripledemic of COVID, RSV and flu.
The nurses said hospitals aren’t doing enough to keep caregivers at the bedside, and have in some cases violated union rights, spied on and interrogated nurses about union activity and tried to silence nurses from speaking out about understaffing.
The NYSNA union, which represents more than 42,000 nurses in New York State alone, said that it will “continue to bargain non-stop” until January 9 in hopes of reaching agreements.
NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United (which has more than 225,000 members nationwide), AFL-CIO, the country’s largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses.