Thousands of NYC nurses begin vote to authorize strike: 'We were the heroes'

As many as 17,000 nurses from 12 different private hospitals across New York City could go on strike Jan. 1, 2023 over contract negotiations. 

The contract for thousands of nurses at a dozen private sector hospitals in the city, including Mount Sinai Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center, is set to expire at the end of the year. The nurses are beginning to vote on whether to authorize a strike if a new agreement is not reached.

"Our members are very tired of the working conditions," Hagans said. "Right now, we have voting going on and they are overwhelmingly voting yes for a strike."

Hagans says their members are frustrated with the pace and progress of negotiations, saying all they are asking for are fair wages, quality health benefits nurses and safe working conditions. 

In a statement to FOX 5 New York, Mount Sinai Hospital says, "We are committed to negotiating in good faith at all times to ensure fairness and fiscal responsibility. We are confident that we will reach a new contract that continues to recognize and reward their hard work and dedication."

NYC nurses possible strike

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also told FOX 5 New York, "We remain hopeful that union leadership shares our dedication to reaching a fair and reasonable contract agreement, and we continue to bargain in good faith."

NYC nurses possible strike

NYC nurses possible strike

"One of our biggest problems is the patient/nurse ratio," Hagans said. "We want to be able to provide excellent care for our patients. In order for us to deliver proper care, management would have to hire more staff."

A spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul says they are monitoring the situation.

The possible strike comes as New York prepares for a possible "tripledemic", as COVID-19, flu and RSV cases continue to fill the state's hospitals.

According to Hochul, the state has 7,857 ventilators and 17 million COVID-19 test kits in its stockpile.

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RSV cases have also been overwhelming hospitals nationwide, but officials in New York say that it has not become an issue yet in the state, however they are watching bed capacity and pediatric admissions closely. 

There is no antiviral medication to treat RSV, but health officials say parents should seek medical attention if their children are having difficulty breathing.