Nurses at Mount Sinai South Nassau call for union


Mount Sinai South Nassau nurses are heading for a union, with 56 percent of them voting to join the New York State Nurses Association, the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the state.

With some 800 nurses, South Nassau represented the last non-union facility in the Mount Sinai Health System.  

"The South Nassau nurses worked for too long without a voice, without adequate compensation, and without a seat at the table to improve care and uplift standards at the hospital," union president Nancy Hagans said, in a release. "When nurses are in unions, we find standards rise and quality care increases. The nurses at South Nassau have banded together to make their lives and their patients' lives better in the long run."  

Mount Sinai officials, however, said that while they  "respect the decision" made by the nurses, "our focus remains on supporting Mount Sinai nurses — and all our employees — in delivering the excellent patient care we are known for and that our community has come to expect from us, ensuring that Mount Sinai South Nassau continues to be one of the best places to work."

On Saturday, Mount Sinai added to their statement that administrators there "recognize the tremendous sacrifices Mount Sinai South Nassau nurses have made during the pandemic and the challenges posed by a nationwide nursing shortage."

Nurses there received 17 percent pay increases over the last 15 months, officials said, while hiring 250 nurses last year alone. 

"We look forward to continuing to work together to provide the high level of nursing care our patients have come to expect," Mount Sinai said, in a statement.

In Nov. 22, nurses at South Nassau nurses informed the National Labor Relations Board it was selecting the nurses association as their union representative. The labor board scheduled a secret ballot union for Thursday, with polls closing at 9 last night.

The nurses association say the vote comes on the heels of what they called a successful nurses strike in New York City this past week, where nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center walked off the job for three days before finally reaching an agreement with hospital officials. That agreement, according to the union, "improved safe staffing levels and enforcement, increased wages by approximately 19 percent over the three-year contract period, protected health care benefits, and improved pandemic health and safety and community benefits." 

Story updated Jan. 14, 3:09 p.m., to add additional comments from Mount Sinai South Nassau.