In February 2022, NYSNA nurses at Montefiore Mount Vernon celebrated winning a strong new contract. But this wasn't just any contract victory: this was the culmination of a years-long fight to keep the hospital open, to improve equipment and services, and to advance racial justice in the Mount Vernon community.
In 2019, Montefiore announced the pending closure of Mount Vernon Hospital without input from hospital employees or the public. Mount Vernon is a dense majority-minority community of 70,000 residents, 15% of whom live in poverty. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Montefiore still planned to move forward with the closure, despite thousands of countywide deaths. They started by shuttering the ICU and laying off 16 nurses amid this public health crisis, citing its “underutilization.”
Nurses and community allies responded by launching the Save and Transform Mount Vernon Coalition. We held town hall meetings, health fairs, rallies, and released a report on health equity. We showed that any “underutilization” of MVH was due to underinvestment in the hospital, not a lack of health needs in the community.
Now, Mount Vernon nurses have a contract that marks a major step forward in this fight to save and transform Mount Vernon Hospital. In addition to annual raises, increased tuition reimbursement, establishment of a VEBA fund, and more, NYSNA nurses locked in a commitment from Montefiore to reopen the ICU unit and install a new CAT scan machine.
This takes our coalition from defense to offense. We're not just stopping Mount Vernon's closure but winning more investment and more quality care for the community.
Every community deserves safe, quality care regardless of zip code—and Mount Vernon Hospital is an example of what we can accomplish when labor and community work together. To learn more about the coalition, visit the Save and Transform Mount Vernon website.