Nurses at Montefiore Hospitals Join Forces to Sound Alarm on Staffing Crisis

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023

Contact: Anna Sterling | | 646-673-0419
Kristi Barnes | | 646-853-4489

Nurses at Montefiore Hospitals Join Forces to Sound Alarm on Staffing Crisis

Nurses from Three Montefiore Hospitals Spoke Out Against Understaffing, Highlighting Vacancy Rate of 25% at Nyack Hospital

With Contacts Expiring at All Three Facilities on Dec. 31, Nurses Are Demanding Hospital Administration Settle Fair Contracts on Time

Mount Vernon, N.Y.— Nurses from three Montefiore facilities in the Lower Hudson Valley—Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Nyack—joined forces to speak out on the understaffing crisis that threatens to impact patient care across the hospital system.

With contracts at the three facilities expiring on Dec. 31, nurses are calling on Montefiore to settle fair contracts that will allow the recruitment and retention of enough experienced nurses at the bedside.

Photos and videos from today's event can be found on NYSNA's Facebook page: Media outlets have permission to use all videos and pictures from NYSNA’s social media feeds with credit to NYSNA.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three facilities have seen high nurse turnover. At Nyack Hospital, the nurse vacancy rate is nearly 25%. Several areas of each hospital are routinely understaffed because working conditions and wages have not kept pace with nearby hospitals. Nurses are at times overwhelmed by the high and unsafe number of patients they are asked to care for, and wages are not competitive with surrounding hospitals and the region.

NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, said: "Nurses everywhere are speaking out and demanding better working conditions and better care conditions for our patients. It makes no sense at all that Montefiore would treat the nurses in the Bronx and the nurses just over the border from the Bronx so differently. All Monte nurses deserve fair pay and enforceable safe staffing ratios. And patients in the Bronx, in Mount Vernon, in New Rochelle, in Nyack all deserve quality care with enough nurses at the bedside. Every patient is a VIP! Let’s do whatever it takes to make sure Monte nurses win fair contracts that help deliver quality care for ALL New Yorkers—no matter the zip code!”

Anna Marie Perkins, RN, nurse about 42 years at Montefiore Nyack, said: “Nurses are overwhelmed. They go home at the end of the day knowing they weren’t able to give the patients the care they wanted to and can’t sleep at night because of this. We need to change this. We need enforceable staffing ratios to protect our patients and our nurses’ mental and physical health!”

The three Montefiore hospitals are bargaining separately on a common contract expiration date and a common platform for the first time. NYSNA-represented nurses are demanding Montefiore administration settle fair contracts that prioritize safe staffing ratios with strong accountability, competitive wages, and improvements to health and educational benefits that honor nurses’ service and quality care.

Melissa Ricketts, RN, Montefiore New Rochelle nurse, said: “Safe staffing is number one for New Rochelle. As individual nurses, we do our best every day, but it’s sad when patients can tell how understaffed we are. Patients deserve better. They deserve quality care. But as individuals there's nothing more we can do – the hospitals need to make a move. This is why we need to ensure we reach a fair agreement in a timely manner. We need respectful wages, enforceable staffing ratios so we can fill vacant positions.”

Nurses have been at the bargaining table since late August and continue to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract for nurses and patients. Unfortunately, the vast majority of proposals from nurses to improve conditions at the hospitals have been rejected by management. That’s why nurses are calling on Montefiore to listen to the nurses and deliver contracts that respect nurses and patients in the Lower Hudson Valley.

Tracey McCook, RN, nurse at Montefiore Mount Vernon since 1988, said: “We’ve been dealing with a mental health crisis for years here, but it seems to have escalated since the start of COVID-19. This, coupled with drug use in the community, creates at times a very volatile situation. When we don’t have enough staff and you have patients coming in suicidal, homicidal, it requires a higher level of care. And we can’t meet that demand. This puts the safety of nurses and our patients at risk. Without one-to-one staffing support, nurses must perform more than just their job of caring for their patients- they must work as security too. It’s a disastrous situation. The residents in this community deserve the same level of care as neighboring communities. Quality of care should not be impacted by your zip code.”

Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., said: “Throughout the New York State Nurses Association's contract fights I have always proudly stood by their side. As our incredible nurses start yet another fight for a fair contract, I will continue to fight tirelessly with them. The nurses of Westchester and Rockland counties deserve safe staffing ratios, competitive wages, and improvements to health and educational benefits that honor how vital they are to our communities. Montefiore must come to the table with a fair contract that supports the nurses that make sure their hospitals run.”

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am proud to support the incredible nurses of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) as they fight for more sustainable working conditions and a fair contract. We have depended on nurses more than ever over the past several years, and we rely on them when we or our loved ones are unwell. I applaud the nurses of the Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and Nyack Montefiore Hospitals for coming together to demand investments in the workforce, a fair contract, and safe staffing ratios. We know these priorities not only benefit the nurses, but they improve care for patients. We must prioritize the needs of nurses, stand by them, and do everything we can to ensure they are respected and have a safe and sustainable working environment. I am confident that with good faith bargaining, there can be a just result.”

David Peters, New Rochelle Councilman-Elect of D-33, said: I stand with the nurses in securing the level of care needed in this vital service to our community. We must keep our hospitals thriving in caring for our most vulnerable residents. We must also realize that it is important they we take care of the caregivers.



The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.


The New York State Nurses Association is a union of 42,000 frontline nurses united together for strength at work, our practice, safe staffing, and healthcare for all. We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses.