Gov. Kathy Hochul and her staff pushed management at Mount Sinai Hospital to return to the bargaining table Sunday morning after negotiations with nurses broke down and strike preparations intensified, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The sources said Hochul has been communicating by phone with representatives on both sides of the talks at Mount Sinai and Montefiore, where roughly 9,500 nurses’ contracts remain unresolved on the eve of Monday’s threatened walkout.
Officials familiar with the negotiations tell News 4 that the New York State Department of Health has assured nurses that they would redouble their enforcement of staffing ratios that are a priority for nurses. Because these are private hospitals, New York State has no official role in these contract negotiations, but the assurances were aimed at averting a strike by nurses who remain skeptical that management will improve post pandemic staff shortages.
Nurses have said chronic understaffing has left them overworked and patients underserved.
The State has the authority to penalize hospitals that fail to meet state regulated staffing requirements.
Sources briefed on the talks said there appeared to be some progress at Mount Sinai West on Sunday, but not at the hospital system’s main campus, where an 18 percent raise over three years remained on the table. A source said that demands for additional pay enhancements for senior nurses were still in dispute.
While another hospital reached a tentative deal Friday evening, there are still multiple hospitals that are poised to see thousands of nurses strike if a deal cannot be reached within a two-day span. NBC New York’s Adam Harding reports.
Five other hospitals have settled their contracts under similar terms in recent days. Nurses at Maimonides and NY-Presbyterian have voted to ratify the new contracts, while staff at Richmond, Flushing, BronxCare and Brooklyn Hospital Center reached tentative agreements.
Meanwhile, new strike contingencies were being developed, including plans to have doctors take on nursing shifts at Montefiore.
One state official said protecting the health of patients in New York’s hospitals was Hochul’s top priority at the moment. Sources familiar with the talks said state officials were preparing to send teams into any hospital experiencing a strike and to develop a system to handle patient complaints about care.
Source: NBC New York
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