Nurses at Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai last week ratified three-year contracts with the hospitals after a three-day strike ended Jan. 12. Mount Sinai nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association voted on Jan. 18 and Montefiore nurses voted on Friday.
The contracts were approved by 98 percent of the nurses, according to the union. The contracts included a 19.1 percent raise, a guarantee to fill more than 170 nursing positions in the emergency department and an enforceable minimum nurse to patient ratio.
Montefiore and Mount Sinai were two of eight hospitals where nurses struck earlier this month.
According to a union press release, both facilities improved its staffing standards exceeding California. Among other states, California became the first state to implement minimum nurse-patient ratio requirements in 2004.
Now both hospitals will have a stronger enforcement mechanism, including financial penalties payable to nurses when employers fail to uphold staffing standards.
“With their historic victory, NYSNA members at Montefiore Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital sparked a national movement to win wall-to-wall enforceable safe staffing ratios to make sure there are always enough nurses at the bedside of every patient at every hospital across the nation,” Nancy Hagans, New York State nurse association president. “Although it will take time for nurses and patients to fully implement this victory on the hospital floors, change begins now.”
The new nurse contracts must now go to the state’s health department to enforce, by law, the new staffing standard, Hagen continued.
“These improved standards won’t just be on paper because nurses won concrete enforcement, including expedited arbitration and enhanced remedies, including potential financial penalties for the hospital if they fail to follow the staffing ratios,” Hagans said.
— Stacy Driks