NYSNA Online Exclusive
NYSNA members participate in New York AFL-CIO political meeting
By Rolando Tomas Infante
Delegates from the New York State Nurses Association participated at the New York State AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) Convention in Latham, N.Y., on Aug. 14.
NYSNA’s delegation joined over 400 delegates from local unions from across the state to vote on endorsing candidates for all 212 seats in the State Legislature and each of the 29 Congressional races.
NYSNA’s delegation was represented by NYSNA President Verlia Brown; Anne Tahaney and Shirley Hunter, members of the NYSNA Delegate Assembly; Nancy Kaleda, senior associate director of the NYSNA Economic & General Welfare program; and Shaun Flynn, associate director of the NYSNA Nursing Advocacy & Information Program. NYSNA Delegate Assembly President Anne Bové also attended as vice president of the NYS AFL-CIO Executive Board.
“This convention was a great opportunity for NYSNA to participate at the state level in deciding which candidates will be endorsed by the AFL-CIO to lead working New Yorkers into the future,” said Kaleda. “The AFL-CIO COPE Convention increased NYSNA’s lvisibility within the political arena as a labor organization.”
Convention attendees heard from New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for Governor of New York; U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton; and New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
At one point, the convention debated the endorsement of Republican State Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn. Golden, sponsor of the recently vetoed pension legislation to give RNs working for the city “physically taxing” designation, was given a spirited defense by Brown.
“Senator Golden has been good to nurses,” said Brown. “He sponsored our bill and has been behind nurses 100%. He has a strong labor voting record and we urge this delegate to vote to endorse Golden.” After the debate, Golden was approved for endorsement.
The New York State AFL-CIO established COPE to encourage union members to take part in public life through programs of political education and political action.
“Solidarity and purpose are paramount in any struggle,” said Bové. “The AFL-CIO COPE Convention helped solidify direction for the labor movement within a bipartisan framework.”
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With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.