Describing himself as a “strong supporter of nurses,” Mayor Eric Adams on Monday urged hospital officials to reach a “fair” agreement with the more than 7,000 nurses who are on the first day of a strike at hospital centers run by Mount Sinai and Montefiore.

The mayor’s remarks on WBLS were his most extensive yet on the ongoing strike which began Monday morning. Adams said he thought it was “crucial” that hospital management were fair to nurses and given the “the services and the protection that they deserve.”

The strike is affecting two major New York City hospital systems: Mount Sinai’s main hospital in East Harlem and several campuses falling under Montefiore Health System in the Bronx. Both walkouts could result in disruptions for patients and place additional stress on surrounding hospitals. The strike has already forced both hospitals to postpone elective procedures as well as discharging patients ahead of the anticipated strike.

“Let's be clear,” Adams — who had been endorsed by the nurses' union carrying out the strike — continued. “Our nurses were on the front line during COVID. Many of them jeopardized their own physical safety.”

He added, “And we need to remember that and make sure we are fair with them during this contract period.”

Our nurses were on the front line during COVID. Many of them jeopardized their own physical safety.
Mayor Eric Adams on WBLS

The city has responded by preparing to redirect any patients from the two hospitals to other nearby medical centers. By Monday evening, it was not clear how many patients had redirected because of the strike.

Earlier in the day, City Comptroller Brad Lander also expressed sympathy with the nurses.

“Proud to stand in solidarity with the nurses of Mt. Sinai and Montefiore calling for fairer treatment, for patients and nurses,” Lander said in a tweet.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has urged both sides to move toward binding arbitration. But union representatives for the New York State Nurses Association, which represents the nurses at both hospitals, rejected that proposal.