Convention 2007 - Highlights: Thursday, September 27
Sessions for members of NYSNA collective bargaining units took center stage on “Labor Day,” the first day of Convention.
- The Congress of Bargaining Unit Leaders, comprising the chairs or presidents of each of NYSNA’s 153 collective bargaining units, elected new officers, including Sue Casadone as vice president and Carline Daley as secretary.
Cheryl Johnson, president of the United American Nurses, spoke to the group about the recent poll of NYSNA members on the question of whether the Association should disaffiliate from the national union. Johnson defended the UAN’s efforts to influence the outcome of that poll through its funding of direct mailings to members under the name of the “NYSNA Nurses for Unity” group. The Congress later voted in support of a resolution urging the UAN to disclose what it spent on the mailing campaign and to whom the money was paid.
- The Congress then heard an address by Stuart Acuff, director of organization for the AFL-CIO. He described the ongoing challenges to the rights of workers and legislative efforts to level the playing field for workers who want to unionize.
- The Delegate Assembly brunch was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of NYSNA’s collective bargaining program. Cathryne Welch, NYSNA executive director from 1979 to 1985, described the rich history of the association and its struggle to promote the rights of nurses and protect patients.
- The Delegate Assembly Award was presented to Kimberly Velez, chair of the bargaining unit at Coney Island Hospital, in recognition of her years of work on behalf of the nurses at her facility and in support of the Nurses Association.
- At its afternoon meeting the Delegate Assembly heard the moving stories of the “Sentosa 27,” registered nurses from the Philippines who were misled and mistreated by their employer, Sentosa Care of Long Island. After leaving their jobs due to unsafe care conditions, they were sued by their former employer and charged by the Suffolk County District Attorney with patient endangerment.
- The day’s events concluded with an address by Steffie Woolhandler, MD, a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Plan, on the need for a national health plan in the United States. NYSNA and PNHP both support a universal, single player plan to ensure a cost-efficient system accessible to all.
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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.