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Elmhurst Hospital residents reach tentative agreement ending historic three-day strike

May. 24, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Following a historic three-day strike, Elmhurst Hospital resident physicians announced on Wednesday, May 24, that they have reached a tentative agreement with Mount Sinai after almost a year of negotiations. 

Approximately 165 doctors employed by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ended their unfair labor practice strike saying that Mount Sinai bargained in good faith. 

In addition to wage increases of 18% over three years, retroactive to November 2022, their tentative agreement includes a $2,000 ratification bonus, an enforceable agreement to negotiate on hazard pay, a meal allowance that reaches parity with Mount Sinai Hospital residents and the creation of a transportation committee. The contract will expire on June 30, 2025. 

“This fight was always about power, and Elmhurst residents are truly building that together,” said Dr. Sarah Hafuth. “Getting a multi-billion-dollar revenue employer like Mount Sinai to move this far really shows what our movement as residents can achieve—even up against the most flagrant union busting and profit-driven corporations. Mount Sinai will now have to think twice about leaving Elmhurst behind and perpetuating these disparities for union doctors in the future. I also know that we are part of a larger ongoing fight for justice in our lives and in health care—and we plan on continuing that fight.”

Represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIRSEIU), the physicians were the first residents to strike in New York in 33 years. With an increase in resident physicians organizing — around 8,000 residents and fellows have unionized since 2019 — the residents at Elmhurst were the third hospital to authorize a strike in New York within a month’s time. 

On May 22, more than 100 resident physicians and interns began their five-day ULP strike outside of Elmhurst Hospital for better pay and benefits. 

Elmhurst Hospital residents and interns strike outside the hospital on Monday, May 22, 2023. The doctors are striking over disparities in pay from Mt. Sinai.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Elmhurst Hospital was known as the “epicenter of the epicenter” at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital made national headlines after being inundated with coronavirus patients, including 13 who died in a 24-hour period. 

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., who had rallied in support of the physicians, congratulated the union and all its members on their “hard-fought and well-deserved victory” in their push for equity in the industry. 

“To be treated with fairness, dignity and respect is all these healthcare heroes have wanted from the start. With this new deal, that is finally what they will be receiving in the form of fair pay and much more,” Richards said. “Unions everywhere will look to you as models for how to achieve workplace justice and I will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and all workers, from nurses to writers and beyond, in that fight.”

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