Nurses in New York City are making their voices heard. More than 7,000 nurses walked off the job from two major hospitals in New York City on Monday, protesting staffing shortages, working conditions, and low pay.
Nurses said immense staffing shortages are causing widespread burnout and hindering their ability to properly care for their patients. Long hours are being demanded of nurses in unsafe conditions, with not enough pay.
NYC nurses apparently say all they want to do is care for their patients without being stretched to a breaking point.
They say the hours and the stress of having too many patients to care for are driving away nurses and creating a worsening crisis in staffing and patient care.
New York nurses are not the only ones who have voiced these concerns. The refrain has also been echoed by several other nurses’ strikes across the country over the past year. It is the latest in a series of strikes in the healthcare industry in recent years.
Those union members who were on the front lines during the three-year battle with the Covid pandemic say the system is no longer able to function with the widespread shortages that arose during those years.
The union representing the nurses said an offer of 19 percent pay hikes isn’t enough to solve staffing shortages.
Although tentative deals had been reached in recent days covering nurses at several hospitals, including two new agreements late Sunday evening, talks with Mount Sinai hospital on the Upper East Side in Manhattan and at three locations of the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx failed overnight, prompting a walkout.
It’s unclear how long the strike will last. The hospitals transferred patients and postponed non-emergency medical procedures in preparation for the strike.
The two hospitals across four locations now on strike make up a significant part of the city’s health care system. Together they account for 16 percent of all hospital beds in the city. Montefiore accounts for more than half of the beds in the Bronx.