Mount Sinai’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Nurses Picketed for Safe Staffing and to Keep Facility Open for Care

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Contact: Eliza M. Bates | | 646-285-8491
Kristi Barnes | | 646-853-4489

Mount Sinai’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Nurses Picketed for Safe Staffing and to Keep Facility Open for Care

NYSNA nurses at Mount Sinai Eye and Ear are fighting for a fair contract with safe staffing and to stop the closure of their facility

Nurses call on Mount Sinai to invest in much-needed specialty care in lower Manhattan

New York, NY Today, NYSNA nurses held an informational picket outside of Mount Sinai’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in lower Manhattan to call on Mount Sinai to settle a fair contract with safe staffing, pay parity, and a plan to keep the facility open for care. Nurses were joined by elected leaders and community allies, including City Council Member Gale Brewer. 

Mount Sinai is one of the wealthiest hospitals in New York City yet is failing to invest in care for lower Manhattan. They’ve been threatening to close Eye and Ear for years without any plan to serve downtown patients – or the thousands of patients who travel to New York City every year to receive gender-affirming care at the facility. The specialty services of Eye and Ear have been part of the fabric of New York City for over 100 years. Combined with Mount Sinai’s reckless plan to close Beth Israel Hospital, the potential closure of Eye and Ear could leave lower Manhattan patients without essential healthcare services. 

NYSNA President Nancy Hagans RN, BSN, CCRN said, “In 2023, NYSNA nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside won groundbreaking contracts. But Mount Sinai hasn’t agreed to the same fair pay or safe staffing improvements at Eye and Ear that we’ve already won for nurses and patients at their other hospitals. It’s time for that to change.” 

With the future of Sinai Eye and Ear in limbo, unsafe staffing is a growing problem. When nurses leave, hospital administration refuses to hire more nurses. Understaffing strains overworked nurses and can compromise patient care. Nurses are coming together to speak out for a fair contract and to protect patient care.

“Mount Sinai has pushed services, pushed doctors, and is now pushing nurses away from Sinai Eye and Ear, creating an uncertain future for specialty care in the downtown community,” said local bargaining unit president and Sinai Eye and Ear nurse John Paul Montemayor, RN. “They’ve told us that we’re lesser nurses than the other nurses who work in the Mount Sinai system, but we don’t accept that. Sinai Eye and Ear nurses deserve respect, fair pay, safe staffing and a fair contract that guarantees a future for us and our patients.”

"Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system and they are fighting for what's right,” said City Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Sinai Eye and Ear nurses need pay parity—they are the lowest paid in the entire Sinai system. These nurses should be inside hospitals caring for patients, not outside fighting for what they should have already.”

New York State Senator Kristen Gonzalez said, "It is unacceptable that New York Eye and Ear nurses are the lowest paid within the Mount Sinai system and are grappling with job security concerns. I stand in solidarity with their informational picket for fair wages and job protections. The healthcare of our communities depends on valuing and respecting the dedicated professionals who serve them."

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “I stand in solidarity with the New York State Nurses Association and the New York Ear and Eye Infirmary Nurses of Mount Sinai who are picketing for a fairer contract and the job security that they are entitled to. It is unacceptable that these nurses are paid less than all other nurses in the Mount Sinai Health System and that management has refused to give them the same wage increase that they offered to other union and non-union nurses in their facilities last year. With so much still up in the air regarding the upcoming closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel it is imperative that all workers employed by the hospital are treated fairly.”

New York State Senator Liz Krueger said, "New Yorkers depend on our nurses, whether it's caring for ourselves, our loved ones, or our most vulnerable neighbors. It is vitally important that New York nurses have the support they need to do their jobs effectively, with fair wages and sufficient staffing. I urge Mount Sinai to reach an equitable agreement with the nurses at New York Eye & Ear."

“I stand in solidarity with the New York State Nurses Association and the workers at New York Eye and Ear as they fight for a new contract with Mount Sinai,” said New York State Assemblymember Grace Lee“Our community depends on NYEE’s specialty healthcare services, and we remain opposed to Mount Sinai’s efforts to close it. NYEE’s staff must be given a new contract that secures the facility’s future and gives workers the fair treatment they deserve, including improved pay parity and job security.”

“The hard-working nurses at NYEEI are the lowest paid in the Mount Sinai system,” said New York State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “They deserve to be compensated fairly for their labor. Additionally, we must halt any efforts to remove services from this vital medical center in our neighborhood. Our community and the nurses that serve it deserve better”.

“The Nurses at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary provide a high level of specialized care to patients and deserve a fair wage, safe staffing, and job security. Nurses have been working without a contract since the end of April and are facing an uncertain future at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Mount Sinai Health System must come to the table and offer pay parity with other nurses in the system as well as assurances that they will not close NYEEI,” said City Council Member Carlina Rivera.

City Council Member Keith Powers said, “The nurses at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary deserve a fair contract now. These essential workers have proven time and again the importance of the care they provide to our community. With Mount Sinai seeking changes to health care options in our neighborhood, the wage increases and certainty that a contract can provide to these nurses should be a given. I am proud to stand with the NYSNA nurses at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary.”

“The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) supports keeping open the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. This is an over 200-year-old specialty institution that addresses the visual and hearing needs for many people with disabilities. The disabled community relies on this hospital, and we need to ensure that it is fully staffed appropriately with well-paid medical professionals,” said Sharon McLennon Wier, Ph.D., MSEd., CRC, LMHC, Executive Director for CIDNY.

Mark Hannay, Director of Metro New York Health Care for All and coordinator of the Save Beth Israel and New York Eye & Ear Campaign, said, “We stand in complete solidarity with the nurses at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary who are trying to negotiate a fair contract with Mount Sinai Health System.  Day in and day out, they provide quality care to all the various patients across the greater New York City region as well as on Manhattan’s Lower East Side who rely on this world-class specialty hospital.”  


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.