Private hospital nurses in New York City are covertly preparing to perhaps strike at some point soon, which might escalate the existing tridemic into a severe crisis.
Before their contracts expire on December 31, the New York State Nurses Association reports to News 4 that ballot boxes have been placed at hospitals around the city for members to vote on a strike authorization.
Voting boxes have already been distributed to locations serving 14,000 of the association’s 17,000 members who work at the 12 hospitals whose contracts are about to expire.
The remainder will be able to cast a ballot this next week.
The association’s president, Nancy Hagans, stated that in the hospitals where votes have already been counted, support for a strike is already well above the required two-thirds majority.
Given that separate contracts cover the nurses at each hospital and that the group is negotiating a similar platform for all of its members, it is feasible that one hospital will vote to authorize a strike while another does not.
Some hospitals may finish voting this week, at which point the union would need to send the hospital a 10-day strike notice before acting.
That means strikes could start in the new year reasonably shortly.
According to the union, members are dissatisfied with the staffing ratios at the neighborhood hospitals, contract offers that they believe would materially reduce their access to healthcare, and Mayor Eric Adams’ recent decision to compel the hospitalization of psychiatric patients.
According to numerous hospital sources who spoke to News 4, the negotiations have not gone well thus far.
They sincerely worry that a strike could happen and not just be a negotiating ploy.
Negotiations “may be raucous and bumpy at times,” according to Mt. Sinai Hospital, but they are “dedicated to negotiating in good faith at all times to ensure justice and economic discipline,” and they are “confident” that a deal will be achieved.
A reaction from the Greater New York Hospital Association regarding the strike vote was not immediately available.
However, one hospital that might see a strike said it was implementing plans.
The office of Governor Kathy Hochul stated that they are “watching the issue.”
All this occurs while the city struggles to deal with a tridemic, or simultaneous and severe rises in COVID, influenza, and the respiratory condition RSV infections.
The city has already suggested that people resume wearing masks indoors as a piece of advice (rather than law).