New York City nurses set to strike for third day against Montefiore Bronx, Mount Sinai Main

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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The nurses’ strike in New York City will continue for a third day on Wednesday. For people in need of care and for striking nurses not getting paid, time is of the essence.

Hundreds of nurses are expected to gather outside Mount Sinai Main and Montefiore Bronx, with no contract yet between the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and the two hospitals.

Nurses at both hospitals demand higher wages and better working conditions. Mount Sinai administrators suggested a possible advance regarding the nurse/patient relationship.

“I believe when our Mount Sinai nurses look at what we offer, I think they will feel valued, respected and know that they will continue to be part of a team that will lead the change so that we can keep our nurse,” said Frances Cartwright, director of nursing at Mount Sinai.

No new talks have been scheduled between the hospital and the NYSNA since it broke the negotiating table on Monday.

The union points to a busy emergency department in Montefiore, saying there are simply too few nurses for all the patients. Emergency room nurses complained about caring for patients in the hallways.

Talks resumed in Montefiore on Monday afternoon, and although a deal was not reached, both sides indicated they were close and continued their talks on Tuesday.

About 3,500 nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and about 3,600 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan walked out of work on Monday after last-minute talks to stop the strike failed.

Jed Basubas said he usually sees eight to 10 patients at a time, double the ideal in the units where he works. Nurse Juliet Escalon said she sometimes skips bathroom breaks to see patients.

So does Ashleigh Woodside, who said her 12-hour shifts in the OR often stretch to 14 hours because staff shortages force her and others to work overtime.

“We love our work. We want to care for our patients. But we just want to do it safely and humanely, where we feel valued,” Woodside said.

Hospitals said they had offered the same raises – totaling 19% over three years – that the union had accepted at several other facilities where contract negotiations reached tentative agreements in recent days.

Montefiore said it has agreed to add an additional 170 nurses.

Mount Sinai’s management said the union’s focus on the nurse-patient relationship “ignores the progress we’ve made to attract and hire more new nurses, despite the global shortage of healthcare workers that is affecting hospitals across the country.”

The city is following the strike in the two hospital networks, which account for 16% of all hospital beds in the city. Montefiore accounts for more than half of the beds in the Bronx.

The union also announced that Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Richmond University Medical Center and BronxCare have approved their contracts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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