Over 7,000 New York City nurses went on strike Monday, protesting poor pay and tough working conditions due to chronic understaffing.
The strikes at the Bronx’s Montefiore Medical Center and one of Manhattan’s Mount Sinai hospitals come after negotiations broke down Sunday evening.
The New York State Nurses Association had warned that workers at all 12 city hospitals with union contracts would go on strike if agreements could not be struck. After the announcement, seven hospitals struck tentative deals, including two late Sunday—but no agreement has been made yet at the two giant hospitals with nurses on strike Monday.
Nurses are disgruntled by staffing shortages, leading to long hours in tough conditions and not enough pay to match such circumstances, in which they are stretched thin trying to care for all their patients.
“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 union said in a statement.
“The decision to go on strike is never an easy one, particularly for workers who care so deeply about the patients and communities they serve,” said New York City Central Labor Council AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. “But hospital executives created this crisis by failing to hire, train, and retain nurses while at the same time treating themselves to extravagant compensation packages. Now it’s time for them to fix what they’ve broken.”
About 3,600 U.S. health care workers died in the first year of the pandemic alone. Now, some two and a half years after thousands drummed their pots and pans in support of the essential workers in one of the epicenters of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses are left striking for better working conditions.