More than 7,000 nurses are striking in New York City after Democratic governor Kathy Hochul failed to facilitate a deal between the nursing union and city hospitals.
After negotiations stalled over pay and understaffing concerns, nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan began to strike Monday morning. Hochul, whose office has worked to broker a deal, on Sunday night called for "binding arbitration" to avert the walk-off—an effort that ultimately failed.
"We have been working tirelessly with our partners in New York City to broker negotiations between the nurses and affected hospitals," Hochul said.
To handle the staff shortages, the two facilities have been forced to transfer patients, reschedule operations, and divert ambulances to other hospitals. Montefiore Medical Center said that the strikes mark "a sad day for New York City."
"We remain committed to seamless and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership's decision will spark fear and uncertainty across our community," the hospital said in a statement.
New York State Nurses Association, which is organizing the strike, said Hochul "should listen to frontline COVID nurse heroes."
"Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients," the union said in a statement.