NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Thousands of nursing workers at New York City’s two largest hospitals went on strike Monday to demand better pay and more staff, nearly three years after the coronavirus pandemic began.
Privately owned and non-profit hospitals postponed non-urgent surgeries, diverted ambulances to other medical facilities, hired temporary workers and assigned administrators with nursing training to work to deal with the strike .
3,500 nursing staff at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and about 3,600 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan went on strike. The talks were to resume in Montefiore on Monday afternoon, but it is not known when they will resume at Mount Sinai.
Hundreds of nursing staff, some singing the chorus to Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, protested outside Mount Sinai. It was one of several New York hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients when the virus hit, making the city an epicenter for virus deaths in the spring of 2020.
“We were heroes just two years ago,” said Warren Urquhart, a nurse in the transplant and oncology unit. “We were on the front lines of the city when everything came to a standstill. And now we need to stop so they can understand how much we mean to this hospital and the patients.
The New York State Nurses Association union said members went on strike because they are caring for too many patients due to chronic staff shortages.
Jed Basubas said he typically sees eight to 10 patients at a time, double the ideal number on the units where he works. Nurse Juliette Escalon says she sometimes skips bathroom breaks to see patients. Ditto for Ashley Woodside, who says her 12-hour shift in the OR often stretches to 2 because staffing shortages force her and others to work overtime.
“We love our jobs. We want to take care of our patients. But we want to do it in a safe and humane way where we feel valued,” said Woodside, who has been a nurse for eight years. working as.