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NewYork-Presbyterian nurses reach tentative agreement as nurses at other city hospitals still intend to strike

<i>Richard Drew/AP/FILE</i><br/>Ambulances fill the bay at New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Richard Drew/AP/FILE
Ambulances fill the bay at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

By Celina Tebor, Liam Reilly and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Nearly 4,000 union nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have reached a tentative agreement on a contract, while approximately 12,000 nurses at seven other hospitals will move forward with their intention to strike beginning January 9.

New York State Nurses Association members at NewYork-Presbyterian reached a tentative deal just hours before their contract expired Saturday “and one day after delivering a 10-day notice to strike,” according to a news release from the group.

The notice allows time for the hospitals to plan patient care in case of a strike. Nearly 99% of the union members voted last week to authorize the strike, which would affect seven hospitals in all five boroughs of the city.

Nurses at the seven remaining hospital facilities are expected to continue negotiations this week, according to the union.

“Nurses are expected to be back at the bargaining table all week at the seven other facilities,” the release noted. “They have been sounding the alarm about the short-staffing crisis that puts patients at risk, especially during a tripledemic of COVID, RSV and flu.”

The union argued hospitals are not doing enough to keep caregivers with patients, and they say hospitals need to invest in hiring, and retaining nurses to improve patient care.

“Striking is always a last resort,” union president and nurse Nancy Hagans said in a news release last week. “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 last-minute negotiations are the latest example of a growing trend of unions leveraging strike threats to improve working conditions. Unions representing workers of train crews at the nation’s freight railroads, mental health professionals, and teachers have all been among the groups to recently strike or lay the groundwork to do so.

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