For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.782.9400, ext. 223
MANHATTAN and BRONX, Dec. 9, 2011 – Registered nurses at Montefiore Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center have voted to authorize a strike, if hospital management does not settle contracts that provide the best possible patient care, affordable health care for nurses and their families, and decent wages. The nurses at Montefiore and Mt. Sinai now join their colleagues at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, who voted last month to authorize a strike.
The 7,000 registered nurses at the three hospitals, members of the New York State Nurses Association, are working together to win fair contracts at a time when hospital management at some of the city’s most prestigious and most profitable hospitals are using the difficult economic climate as an excuse not to reasonably compensate nurses for their extraordinary, daily contributions to the well-being of their patients and to the success of the hospital.
“Many New York nurses are working with long-expired contracts. A strike is our last resort,” said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, bargaining unit president of Montefiore's Moses division.
“In 2010, five New York City hospital CEOs made almost $18 million!” Sheridan-Gonzalez said, quoting numbers from a Nov. 27, 2011 New York Post article. “We are demanding that we be able to protect our patients with safe staffing ratios. We are also standing up to the corporate agenda that has been squeezing workers across the country to pay more for benefits in order to fix years of their own mismanagement.”
Nurses have been at the negotiating table for months with the three hospitals, and management has consistently refused to adequately address the nurses’ concerns about affordable healthcare premiums, reasonable wages and patient care issues.
The nurses at New York-Presbyterian Hospital had also authorized a strike in late October, but have now reached a tentative agreement that addresses key staffing concerns and would not increase the nurses’ health insurance benefit costs. A ratification vote for the proposed contract is underway.
“The nurses at Mt. Sinai stand together with our colleagues at St. Luke's-Roosevelt, Presbyterian and Montefiore,” said Jacklynn Price, bargaining unit president at Mt. Sinai. "Our members give patients excellent care, and they need and deserve quality health benefits for themselves and their families, just as we provide care for all of our patients.”
In addition to preparing for a possible strike, the Nurses Association has launched a new 60-second radio ad on several New York-area stations, in which Karine Raymond, a working nurse from Montefiore, seeks support for the middle-class nurses in their contract fight against the millionaire hospital executives.
The nurses will decide in coming days when they will begin the strike notification process with hospital management.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses. The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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