More than 7,000 NYC hospital nurses go on strike as bargaining talks collapse

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More than 7,000 nurses at two New York City hospitals have gone on strike amid collapsing bargaining talks.

The strike began at 6am on Monday after talks didn’t find a resolution overnight.

While tentative deals had been struck in the last few days for nurses at multiple hospitals, negotiations failed at Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and three Bronx locations of the Montefiore Medical Center.

The New York State Nurses Association said in a statement on Monday that “after bargaining late into the night at Montefiore and Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday, no tentative agreements were reached. Today, more than 7,000 nurses at two hospitals are on strike for fair contracts that improve patient care”.

On Monday morning, there were hundreds of nurses and supporters, covering two blocks of the city. Even as the picket line entered the street, momentarily stopping traffic, truckers driving by honked their support, CNN reported.

Both of the hospitals struggling to find agreements with staff said on Monday that negotiations had fallen apart.

Mount Sinai spokesperson Lucia Lee told CNN that the leadership New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) “walked out of negotiations shortly after 1am ET, refusing to accept the exact same 19.1% increased wage offer agreed to by eight other hospitals, including two other Mount Sinai Health System campuses, and disregarding the governor’s solution to avoid a strike”.

Montefiore Medical Center called it “a sad day for New York City”.

“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 centre said.

While NYSNA has agreed to the same pay increases at other hospitals, it argued that its members at Mount Sinai and Montefiore were being overworked.

NYSNA President Nancy Hagans told the press on Sunday that “we need management to come to the table and provide better staffing”.

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