More than 7,000 nurses at two of New York City’s biggest hospitals are headed back to work, after tentative deals were reached overnight to deliver the union’s key sticking point, improved staffing ratios, ending a three-day strike that disrupted patient care for thousands, both sides announced.
Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai’s main campus on Manhattan’s east side both reached immediate return-to-work agreements, enabling thousands of nurses to return to bedsides Thursday, delivering critical frontline care to patients and renewed assurances to their families and friends.
At Mount Sinai, nurses will walk back into the hospital at 7 a.m. after winning wall-to-wall safe staffing ratios for all inpatient units with firm enforcement so that there will always be enough nurses at the bedside to provide safe patient care, the union said. New staffing ratios take effect immediately in what the New York State Nurses Association called a historic breakthrough for a hospital it says refused to consider ratios nurses have been demanding for decades.
Montefiore nurses will also return to work Thursday after winning new safe staffing ratios in the emergency department, with new staffing language and financial penalties for failing to comply with safe staffing levels in all units. Nurses also won community health improvements and nurse-student partnerships to recruit local Bronx nurses to stay as union nurses at Montefiore for the long run, NYSNA said.
That tentative deal came first, with Montefiore announcing a tentative deal for a contract including 19.1% wage increases, more than 170 new nursing positions and more dedicated resources to recruitment and retention in addition to preserving “excellent” fully paid benefits, the hospital said. The new contract will be up for ratification next week.
“We came to these bargaining sessions with great respect for our nurses and with proposals that reflect their priorities in terms of wages, benefits, safety, and staffing,” President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine Dr. Philip Ozuah, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the dedication and commitment of our nurses who have served through very challenging circumstances over the past several years.”
The deal also includes maintaining fully funded healthcare for eligible nurses and lifetime health coverage for eligible retired nurses; an increase in preceptor and charge nurse pay of $5 per hour over standard wages; an increase for float pool nurses in ERs; and continuing to significantly increase nurse education infrastructure in emergency departments.
The third day of nurses striking is underway at Montefiore and Mount Sinai. Gus Rosendale reports.
Montefiore and Mount Sinai were the last of a group of hospitals with contracts that expired simultaneously Monday.
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, called the deals a “historic victory” for nurses in New York City and nationwide.
“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,” Hagan said. “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.”
Nurses at Wyckoff hospital also reached a tentative deal overnight and withdrew their 10-day strike notice, NYSNA said.
Source: NBC New York
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