Mount Sinai nurses ‘shafted’ as hospital cancels hazard pay, overtime


They’re being treated like trash all over again.

Exhausted nurses at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital system say they feel “shafted” and “taken advantage of” after learning the crisis pay which was introduced just four weeks ago amid the hell of the coronavirus pandemic is being suddenly terminated.

The decision to scrap the $250-a-week hazard pay after just four weeks, effective this Saturday, comes after three other Empire State hospitals, Northwell Health, NewYork-Presbyterian and NYU Langone paid front-line staff lump sum bonuses of at least $2,500 and at two hospitals, paid vacation, to say thanks for fighting the deadly virus.

“Mount Sinai can pretend to respect nurses and call them ‘heroes’ all they want, but until we are compensated fairly for the enormous sacrifices and work we’ve put into fighting COVID-19 and towards our patients’ recoveries, their claims are hollow and baseless,” said one emergency department nurse at Mount Sinai’s main Upper East Side hospital.

In an April 5 letter obtained by The Post, Mount Sinai members of the New York State Nurses Association were told they’d receive the extra $250 a week and a higher overtime rate of $100 an hour as they fight to treat people infected with the virus in the hardest-hit city in the nation.

But on May 7, the deal was abruptly called off, with the hospital listing it as one of several cost-cutting measures.

“With the reduction in COVID-19 patient volumes to approximately one-third of our peak, we will be ending crisis pay for those receiving it effective Saturday, May 16,” the memo read.

Nurses have also been told they won’t be paid any overtime until at least July — some workers blaming a large influx of hundreds of highly-paid travel nurses at the hospitals.

Frustrated staff, some who haven’t seen their families for months to keep them protected from their own exposure, said while admissions were falling, front-line nurses were still being exposed to the deadly virus every day, “without any end in sight.”

“This has all been physically and emotionally wearing on us and it makes it worse to feel taken advantage of by them,” another nurse at Mount Sinai’s UES location said.

“Other New York City hospitals, including NewYork-Presbyterian, gave their employees a week off to recoup from everything. We’ve gotten nothing like this. Even our hazard pay was less than what everyone else was getting,” she added.

“Everyone is tired of being loyal and putting our own and our families health at risk for a hospital that does not care about us.”

Last month, The Post revealed how nurses at Mount Sinai West wore garbage bags as makeshift gowns when protective gear at the hospital became critically low — with the “Treated Like Trash” front page story being held aloft and referred to by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

An expose published Monday revealed that a top union representative trashed the brave nurse who sounded the alarm, calling her a “piece of s–t.”

Diana Torres, that Mount Sinai West worker, said front-line workers were exhausted after fighting the virus for two months and described the pay cuts as the latest blow.

“To me, with everything I have going on, I don’t have the energy to continue fighting for money,” she said.

“I’m tired. I’m exhausted. People are asking me ‘What did they do to you? What’s going to happen?’ I don’t want to think about it,” she added.

“It was either go to work or risk your life, or don’t go to work and become concerned about how you’re going to survive.”

Mount Sinai spokesman Jason Kaplan defended the hazard pay cuts as a “good sign” the pandemic is easing in the hard-hit Empire State.

“As our inpatient and emergency department COVID-19 volumes are now less than half of what they were at the peak, we are slowly and cautiously returning our system, staff, and roles back to a more normal level,” Kaplan said.

“As a result, we do not anticipate the same overtime hours being required, nor crisis pay which in many cases was linked to overtime, and we are unwinding healthcare agency arrangements that supplied extra support during the surge,” he added.

The Big Apple’s public NYC Health + Hospitals network confirmed their nurses also hadn’t received hazard pay and called on the federal government to pass desperately-needed funding.

“NYC Health + Hospitals’ frontline employees are heroes and deserve recognition for their hard work serving New Yorkers in need, which is why we urge Senator McConnell to support the stimulus bill to ensure we are able to rightfully recognize our heroes,” a spokesman said.

The nurses’ association did not respond to request for comment.

Credit: Source link