More than 7,000 nurses at 2 big NYC hospitals go on strike

New York, Jan 9 (EFE).- More than 7,000 nurses working at two big New York City hospitals went on strike on Monday after being unable over the weekend to reach an agreement on renegotiating their work contracts.

Participating in the strike on Monday are about 3,500 nurses working at the Montefiore medical center in The Bronx and about 3,600 nurses treating patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

“Nurses don’t want to strike. Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients,” the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the largest union representing registered nurses in the state, said in a statement.

In preparation for the strike, on the weekend, Mount Sinai Hospital transferred the newborns in intensive care units to other hospitals in the area and postponed surgeries.

The hospital said that it was planning to assign non-union workers to cover the shifts of the nurses on strike.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was in contact with both the union and the medical centers.

“For weeks now, we have been working tirelessly with our partners in New York City to broker negotiations between the nurses and affected hospitals and our efforts have achieved significant progress,” Hochul said in a written statement Sunday.

“Yet there remain outstanding issues at Montefiore and Mount Sinai and I am now calling for binding arbitration so that all parties can swiftly reach a resolution,” she added.

Since the two medical centers are privately run, New York state cannot play a decisive role in the negotiations, but it does have the authority to sanction hospitals that do not comply with personnel requirements established by the state.

Five other hospitals, whose nurses had also threatened to participate in the strike, reached agreements with them in recent days, thus averting potential work stoppages.

EFE –/bp

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