VALHALLA, July 9, 2007 – Registered nurses at Westchester Medical Center are outraged over the county’s cancellation last week of a bus advertisement supporting their campaign for a fair contract.
The ad featured three smiling nurses with the message: "We save lives every day. Westchester Medical Center nurses need a FAIR contract. It's a matter of RESPECT." It was rejected by the county, which claimed that it was “controversial.”
Supporting the nurses is the Republican caucus of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, which has called this action “a blatant violation of the principles of free speech.” The caucus has demanded in the accompanying press release that County Executive Andrew Spano stop trying to censor nurses at the Westchester Medical Center.
For more than year, the nurses have been trying to resolve developing problems that they believe will threaten the quality of care at the medical center. Medical center officials, however, are demanding givebacks in the nurses’ retirement-health benefit plan. NYSNA believes such radical givebacks will put the medical center in a less-competitive position to recruit registered nurses. This could worsen staff shortages, which would in turn affect the quality of care patients receive.
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.