After three days on strike, calling for higher wages and increased staffing, thousands of nurses returned to work at Mount Sinai Hospital in East Harlem at 7:00 am Thursday morning, after their union struck a deal which they say includes enforceable safe staffing ratios — a sticking point that led to the work stoppage on Monday.
“Nurses have done the impossible, saving lives night and day, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we’ve again shown that nothing is impossible for nurse heroes,” said New York State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagans, RN.
“Today, we can return to work with our heads held high, knowing that our victory means safer care for our patients and more sustainable jobs for our profession.”
An estimated 3,500 nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital walked off the job at 6:00 am Monday morning, part of a strike that also included Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
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The caregivers-turned-protesters formed a picket line outside Mount Sinai’s Madison Avenue campus, demanding a fair contract thats includes both wage increases and improved staffing levels.
Governor Kathy Hochul, whose team had been working with both sides to reach an agreement that would put nurses back at patients’ bedsides, visited Mount Sinai Thursday morning to congratulate the nurses on their new contract.
“I’m proud this agreement delivers good wages and benefits to our frontline heroes and ensures patients will receive top-notch care,” Gov. Hochul said.
According to NYSNA, the new staffing ratios take effect immediately, which will reduce the number of patients each nurse is assigned to care for — some nurses said they were responsible for as many as 20 patients each day.
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“We are pleased that The Mount Sinai Hospital reached a tentative agreement with NYSNA, and the strike is over,” the health system said in a statement Thursday morning.
“It is fair and responsible, and it puts patients first. To our incredible Mount Sinai team: thank you for your unwavering dedication to world-class patient care.”
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