January 12, 2023

NYC Nurse Strike Ends - Nurses Win Historic Victory

NYC Nurse Strike Ends - Nurses Win Historic Victory

Updated 1/12/2023

According to the New York Nurses Association, the NYC nurse strike has ended. After picketing for three days, NYC nurses striking at Mount Sinai Health, Montefiore Health System, and Wyckoff hospital have reached tentative agreements and are now back to work. 

NYSNA Statement

“This is a historic victory for New York City nurses and for nurses across the country. NYSNA 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. Through our unity and by putting it all on the line, we won enforceable safe staffing ratios at both Montefiore and Mount Sinai where nurses went on strike for patient care. 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,” NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said in a statement. 

Staffing Ratios

The deals at both Mount Sinai and Montefiore hospitals specifically address unsafe staffing ratios - tackling major issues that nurses have been fighting for over decades. Although, exact staffing ratios are not yet available.

Mount Sinai: according to the NYSNA, the deal includes the following terms for Mount Sinai staffing ratios:

  • Wall-to-wall safe staffing ratios for all inpatient units 

  • Firm enforcement on staffing ratios

  • New staffing ratios take effect immediately 

Montefiore - according to the NYSNA, the deal includes the following terms for Montefiore staffing ratios:

  • New safe staffing ratios in the Emergency Department - new staffing language and financial penalties for failing to comply with safe staffing levels in all units.

  • Community health improvements

  • Nurse-student partnerships to recruit local Bronx nurses 

Union nurses will still need to vote on the agreements.

Updated 1/9/2023: 

Image Source: Facebook/NYSNA

After a strike authorization vote went through earlier this month, over 7,000 nurses at major New York City hospitals have officially carried through—a strike at Montefiore in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem went into effect Monday evening when the nurses walked off their shifts and straight into a strike at 7 am. A video reposted on Twitter showed the exact moment nurses walked out of the hospital, to what looks like cheers and applause in support of the strike beginning.

Mt. Sinai also tweeted updates about the negotiations, noting that NYSNA leadership had walked out of negotiations at 1 AM ET, rejecting the Governor’s last-ditch effort to prevent the strike. 


Current Situation

While tentative agreements have been reached at other NY-area hospitals, the union and supporters all cited statistics of dangerous nursing vacancies—over 1,200—at the two strike facilities, as well as high salaries and bonuses to hospital management only and not nursing staff, as well as unsafe patient-nurse ratios. CNN reported that the union rejected offers of a 19% pay raise in previous negotiations. 

Doreen Chulon, neurology nurse at Montefiore, said nurse-patient ratios have increased from 1:4 to 1:6 and that nurses often work without breaks or meals. “We’re burned out. We’re exhausted the next day,” Chulon told CNN

Currently, the strike is ongoing and the NYSNA also announced that they will be hosting a press conference today at noon at Mount Sinai Hospital Madison and E. 99th Street in Manhattan that will feature NYSNA nurses as well as allies for the union, including,

  • Attorney General Letitia James

  • NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento 

  • AFL NYC Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez

  • Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine

  • Council Member Gale Brewer 

“The entire New York City Labor Movement stands with our @nynurses, who are courageously taking action against dangerous understaffing that threatens the safety of their patients,” New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez said

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO added: “Union members across the city and state, from the public sector, private sector, and building trades are united in our support of the nurses represented by NYSNA, who have been put in the unfortunate position of having no other choice than to strike. These nurses are dedicated professionals who provide quality patient care under unimaginable conditions including short staffing, which were only exacerbated by the pandemic. The hospitals' treatment of these nurses is proof that all their words of adulation for their healthcare heroes during the pandemic were hollow. It is time for the hospitals to treat these nurses fairly, with the dignity and respect they deserve, to ensure nurses can get back to serving their communities by providing superior care to their patients.”

State Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos stated that she believes the necessitation of the strike should be “alarming” to New Yorkers and reminded the public that hospital management “has been granting themselves bonuses and pocketing money that could be used to strengthen our public health infrastructure,” adding that she fully supports the NYSNA. 

Picketing is also taking place at:

  • Montefiore Moses - 111 East 210th St., Bronx

  • Montefiore Weiler - 1825 Eastchester Rd., Bronx

  • Montefiore Hutch - 1250 Waters Pl., Bronx

  • Mount Sinai Hospital - 1 Gustave Levy Pl, Madison & 99th, NY

What The Strike Means for Patients and Nurses

On Facebook, the NYSNA encouraged patients to not delay seeking medical attention if they needed care. They explained that while they wish they could be the ones providing that care, during a strike, patients who need care can still access it at the hospital and that crossing picket lines to get necessary care is never considered to be crossing a picket line in the eyes of nurses—because after all, nurses, first and foremost, are striking for patient care and safety. 

The hospitals have reportedly taken measures such as discharging patients, moving patients to other facilities and postponing elective surgeries. The nurses and union, insist, however, that it’s important to remember that the staffing shortages have reached critically unsafe levels–one nurse even reported that in some cases, 1 nurse is responsible for caring up to 20 patients in the ER—and that the administration has caused shortages to reach this level, not the nurses. 


Comments on social media have mostly been supportive, with a few instances of people expressing concern over how the strike might affect patient care—especially considering some delays in care have still been occurring as a result of the pandemic after-effects.


Twitter was also alight with nurses showing pictures of themselves and their families at the strike. 

Source: Twitter/NYSNA

Source: Twitter/NYSNA

“It’s time hospitals prioritize patients over profits,” New York City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa summed up. “Our nurses were heroes long before the pandemic, and they continue to serve our most vulnerable communities daily.”

Nurse.org reached out to Montefiore in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem and has not received a response at time of publication. 

Original article published 1/6/2023:

In the latest string of threatened strikes, 17,000 New York City nurses are now authorized to strike in January 2023 if an agreement for a new contract cannot be reached. 

 The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) announced that nearly 99% of union NYC RNs voted to strike if an agreement cannot be reached. 

The strike comes at a potential time when many hospitals across the nation are feeling the strain–or potential threat–of what is being dubbed a “tridemic” of COVID-19, RSV, and flu infections hitting many patients particularly hard this year. 

About the Strike

Citing the primary issue of the authorized strike as concerning fair pay, benefits, and safe staffing, the NYSNA announced that 14,000 of 17,000 union nurses voted in the authorization of the strike and expect that the remaining nurses will also vote in favor of the strike.

In a statement on Instagram, the NYSNA wrote

“Hospital employers continue to resist when it comes to safe staffing, fair wages, and maintaining quality health benefits. These are essential components to address the nurse staffing crisis and improve quality care for our patients.

That’s why NYSNA nurses throughout NYC private sector hospitals have begun strike vote authorization. We are serious about our contract expiration deadline of Dec. 31.

If hospitals can afford to pay executives millions of dollars in salaries, bonuses and perks, they can afford to invest in hiring and retaining enough nurses for safe patient care.”

 The strike votes have been completed as of December 22, 2022, at the following hospitals:

  • BronxCare

  • Montefiore

  • Mount Sinai Hospital

  • Mount Sinai Morningside and West

  • NewYork-Presbyterian

  • Richmond University Medical Center

NYSNA President and frontline nurse at Maimonides Medical Center Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN explained that striking is not something the organization takes lightly and noted that while a strike is always a “last resort,” it’s still one the nurses are willing to take if their bosses leave them no other option. 

“Nurses have been to hell and back, risking our lives to save our patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes without the PPE we needed to keep ourselves safe, and too often without enough staff for safe patient care,” she said in the NYSNA’s statement. “Instead of supporting us and acknowledging our work, hospital executives have been fighting against COVID nurse heroes. They’ve left us with no other choice but to move forward with voting to authorize a strike for better patient care.”

The NYSNA also explains that their nurses have been doing their best to sound the alarm about the need to staff hospitals appropriately in light of the threat of the “tridemic,” but notes that hospitals, unfortunately, have not been “doing enough to keep caregivers at the bedside, and instead of working with COVID nurse heroes, in some cases, are even threatening to cut their healthcare benefits.”

Aretha Morgan, RN, MSN, Pediatric ER nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian explained: “Right now, we are facing a tripledemic of COVID, flu and RSV. Our pediatric ER is overflowing and short-staffed on almost all shifts. It is unbearable to see children suffer because we don’t have enough staff to provide safe patient care. And yet, NewYork-Presbyterian, which paid its CEO almost $12 million dollars in salary, bonus, and perks in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, has failed to invest in hiring and retaining enough nurses.”

Through COVID—With No Changes

NYSNA nurses also spoke to how conditions they worked through during the pandemic have not improved—while the pandemic may have been viewed as a “temporary” hardship during a worldwide emergency, hospital administrators have undoubtedly had time to improve working conditions since then. Nurses did their part on the frontlines, but many feel that their sacrifice is now going unnoticed, with no effort to improve what are unsustainable working conditions. 

“Even after the devastation of COVID-19 shone a light on the problem for all to see–our hospitals have ignored nurses and continued to put profits over patient care,”  Matt Allen, an RN at Mount Sinai, said through the NYSNA. “These so-called nonprofit hospitals lavish their executives with 7-figure salaries and bonuses. But they refuse to pay nurses fairly or protect our healthcare benefits. They pay temporary travel nurses 100% more than they pay a staff nurse, in a bottom-line driven attempt to Band-Aid over the problem that will only continue to worsen.”

Nurses also referenced severely unsafe staffing ratios, some as high as 20 patients to one nurse. In the Emergency Department, I sometimes care for 20 patients at a time, instead of a safe standard of 3 to 6 patients,” Benny Mathew, RN at Montefiore in the Bronx, told the NYSNA. “This is not safe or fair for nurses or patients. It leads to worse patient outcomes, and it increases the risk of patient death. We want safe staffing to save lives."

NYSNA announced the outcome of the strike vote on their Facebook page, with over 110 comments rolling in from supporters. Some RNs also shared their own difficult stories of facing deteriorating conditions, some even after long careers spent in healthcare. “I was a NYSNA nurse for 17 years,” said one commenter. “I had to resign a few weeks ago because I was just at my breaking point. My health issues became too much from the physical and mental stress put on me as a nurse. I’m still behind my NYSNA nurses.”

What Happens Next

Negotiations have reportedly been ongoing for months leading up to the strike vote, but no agreement has been reached yet. And unfortunately, the staffing issues the union has complained about have been ongoing as well. 

For instance, a recent report on the situation of New York state’s hospitals painted a dire picture of hospitals trending downwards financially, cutting patient services, and struggling to hire or retain nursing staff. In fact, according to the report,100% of the state’s hospitals report nursing shortages they cannot fill. The report also noted that contract nurses, who made up 50% of New York hospitals’ total contract labor expenses in 2019, made up 65% in 2022. 

Hospital administrators have until the end of the year to deliver a contract that the union will agree upon, but the strike authorization vote does not mean the nurses are prepared to strike on any certain date—yet. 

Instead, the authorization vote simply enables the union to set a strike date within 10 days of announcing it. So once the contract expires on December 31, 2022, if no agreement has been reached for a new contract, the union can set a strike date any time in the future with a 10-day notice. 

So far, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office has not released a statement on what the plan will be if the strike goes through. Local news station Pix11 announced that a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams stated that the office is “closely monitoring” the situation and promised New  Yorkers the “healthcare resources” they need during the holiday season. 


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