For immediate release
Contact: Dan Lutz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347.835.3429
Schenectady, Wednesday, Dec. 4 — In a strong vote of confidence for a re-energized nurses union, Bellevue Woman’s Center nurses voted 92 to 18 to join the New York State Nurses Association, New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.
“This election is a great victory for nurses, our patients, and our entire community,” said Christine Walthers, a registered nurse at Bellevue and new member of NYSNA. “We decided to join NYSNA after management started to make changes to how we care for our patients – without consulting us. Nurses and our patients need a voice in healthcare. NYSNA is that voice.”
Many nurses at Bellevue are specially-trained to care for women and newborns. Nurses decided to join NYSNA after management began making unilateral changes to patient care – with no input from nurses. Nurses have joined together to have a real say in the future of nursing practice and patient care at Bellevue.
“I see nurses being forced to take on 10 patients at once. That is too many,” said Victoria Decker, a registered nurse on Bellevue’s postpartum unit and a new NYSNA member. “We look forward to sitting down with Ellis Hospital management to discuss how we can work together to ensure safe staffing levels for all of our patients.”
In 2013, NYSNA launched a campaign to pass legislation to set a limit on the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at one time.
“NYSNA nurses are rebuilding our union from the ground up. This year, thousands of us rallied in the streets and the halls of Albany to stop hospital closures, demand safe staffing levels, and put patients before profits,” said Jill Furillo, RN and executive director of the New York State Nurses Association. “This vote is a strong sign that what we are doing is working.”
This year, NYSNA joined with patients and community leaders to stop the closing of two Brooklyn hospitals. In Albany’s 2013 legislative session, NYSNA nurses blocked three separate attempts to let Wall Street or hedge funds take over New York hospitals; a study by Duke University found that patient deaths spike when hospitals switch to a for-profit model. Bill de Blasio called NYSNA’s early endorsement a turning point in his successful campaign for NYC mayor.
NYSNA has created a New Organizing department to unionize nurses and strengthen our voice for patient care. Nurses at more than half of upstate hospitals are not union members.
State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Assembly Member Phil Steck, Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry, and Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy joined NYSNA to show their support at our victory celebration last night.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for more than a hundred thousand frontline nurses. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.