Talks continue to avoid nurse strike at 2 NYC hospitals

NEW YORK (AP) — With a strike deadline looming, contract negotiations continued Sunday between two large New York City hospitals and the union representing more than 7,000 nurses prepared to walk out on Monday, union officials said.

Nurses at a third hospital reached a tentative agreement on Sunday.

Talks were under way with Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, which both have more than 1,000 beds, New York State Nurses Association President Nancy Hagans said on a conference call with reporters.

NYSNA nurses at Mount Sinai Morningside and West tentatively agreed Sunday to a contract that increases salaries and improves staffing standards, the union said. Tentative agreements at several other city hospitals were announced earlier.

“We have said always our number one issue is the crisis of staffing, chronic understaffing that harms patient care,” Hagans said.

She said negotiations resumed for the first time since Thursday with Mount Sinai management. Talks with other hospitals have been ongoing.

Absent an agreement, about 3,500 nurses at Montefiore and 3,625 Mount Sinai nurses will go on strike at 6 a.m. Monday, Hagans said.

The hospitals have taken steps to prepare for a strike through patient transfers, directing ambulances elsewhere and postponing elective surgeries.

In a statement, Mount Sinai said the union's focus on staffing-to-patient ratios “ignores the progress we have made to attract and hire more new nurses, despite a global shortage of healthcare workers that is impacting hospitals across the country.”