How COVID-19 Surges Have Driven New York Nurses to Strike – TIME

by | Jan 11, 2023 | COVID-19

Nurses in both the U.S. and U.K. flexed their bargaining muscle over the last few weeks amid increasing pressure on the countries’ respective health care system due to COVID-19. About 7,000 nurses from two New York City hospitals, Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, have been on strike since Monday. That followed tens of thousands of National Health Services nurses who went on strike in the U.K. for two days in December—those NHS workers are expected to take to the picket lines again next week. Despite the geographic distance, these nurses are proximate in their demands: that their facilities address serious shortages of health care workers, including by providing higher wages. The striking nurses say that staffing shortages started years ago, but the problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of working U.S. nurses dropped by over 100,000, the largest single-year decline recorded in four decades of data, according to an analysis of the Current Population Survey published in Health Affairs in January, 2022. The crisis has continued into 2023; as of publishing, 15% of U.S. hospitals reported shortages in critical-care staffing, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Matt Allen, a labor and delivery nurse and an elected leader for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), says he and his colleagues at Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem went on strike this past week in an effort to push the hospital to address understaffing, which he says threat …

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