Thousands of NYC nurses vote to authorize strike

Thousands of nurses in New York City could go on strike in just a matter of days.

The nurses say they are demanding safer staffing levels, as well as better pay and benefits.

According to the New York State Nurses Associated, 99% of nurses at 12 New York City medical centers and hospital systems, including Mount Sinai and NewYork-Presbyterian have already voted in favor of going on strike.

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"We don’t take striking lightly. Striking is always a last resort. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option," said Nancy Hagans, the NYSNA President and frontline nurse at Maimonides Medical Center. "Nurses have been to hell and back, risking our lives to save our patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes without the PPE we needed to keep ourselves safe, and too often without enough staff for safe patient care."

The contract for the nurses expires on New Year's Eve.

Hospitals have struggled to recruit and retain nurses and other staff amid the fallout from the pandemic. 

The issue has become even more acute this winter as hospitals have seen an influx of patients infected with the flu, RSV or COVID-19.