NEW YORK NURSE: October/November 2008
by David G. Curry, PhD, APRN
By the time you read this column, the election is over. A new president has been chosen, but of more immediate importance to New York nurses, the composition of the New York State Senate and Assembly has been decided.
Furthermore, Governor Paterson has called the legislature back into session, presumably for more budget cuts.
What does this mean for nurses and NYSNA? As I write this, I must confess I can’t see the details, but I’m certain that budget cuts won’t bode well for either hospitals or nurses. But I am also certain that nurses must reach a new level of political action if we are to protect our patients and our profession.
What do I mean by political action? First, meet your local legislators. You may have heard the expression “think globally, act locally.” Your local legislators are paid to work for you, so meet them. And remind your legislator that you are a nurse – we are members of the most respected profession and lawmakers know that.
Second, talk with members of other unions in your community. Even if you are not represented for collective bargaining, NYSNA is primarily a labor organization and other union members locally will probably be aware of that. The issues that you face in your life, like high heating bills and taxes, are the same issues they face. After all, “united we stand, divided we fall” is the basis of collective bargaining.
Finally, build bridges with others around areas of interest. Your personal interest might be breast cancer research, smoking cessation, or something more local, like public safety. No matter what your interest, talk with your legislators and talk with members of other unions, and build those bridges to move your agenda forward.
In the meantime, the NYSNA Political Action Committee will continue to advance the association’s agenda through our efforts in Albany. And you can expect that we will be asking for your help to talk to your legislators and your neighbors as we fight to keep the quality in health care.