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More than 150 doctors on strike at New York Hospital, once called the epicenter of the pandemic


About 160 medical residents went on strike over what they said was low pay at a public hospital in New York.

NEW YORK — About 160 medical residents went on strike Monday over what they called low pay at New York’s Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital once known as the epicenter of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors-in-training at Queens Hospital, who are employed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, are the first doctors to go on strike in the city since 1990, according to their union, the Committee of Interns and Local Residents of the Service Employees International Union.

Mount Sinai “refuses to pay us the same as our colleagues doing the exact same work at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan,” said Dr. Joya Dupre, a second-year internal medicine resident at Elmhurst, in a statement from the union. “It’s like, basically, Mount Sinai is saying this community doesn’t matter. Like us, as people of Elmhurst, we don’t matter, as union doctors in largely immigrants.

Mount Sinai released a statement on Monday saying it was “working toward a fair and reasonable resolution that is in the best interests of our residents of Elmhurst as well as the Mount Sinai healthcare system.” He also said he was working with Elmhurst on contingency plans to ensure patient care is not affected by the strike.

Resident doctors and Mount Sinai have been in negotiations for nearly a year. A five-day strike is planned.

Compensation was the main sticking point. The union says first-year Mount Sinai medical residents working at Elmhurst earn about $7,000 less a year than their peers working at the main Mount Sinai campus in Manhattan.

Also on Monday, the union announced that another 500 medical residents at Mount Sinai Morningside/West in Manhattan had authorized a strike, also over pay.

Elmhurst was among several city hospitals overrun with the coronavirus when the pandemic began. Elmhurst medical staff described panting patients arriving – seemingly non-stop – ventilators out of order and death totals so high that a refrigerated morgue truck had to be parked outside.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.