NEW YORK NURSE: HHC/Mayorals Special Issue 2013
By Anne Bové, RN, President of the NYSNA HHC Executive Council
In New York City’s HHC public hospital system, our mission is simple: We never turn anyone away. We care for every person who comes through our doors. No insurance? We give care. No name or birth date? We fill in the blanks. Everyone needing care gets it. No questions asked.
When you think about it, the HHC mission is the nursing mission: Quality healthcare for all.
It’s a powerful mission, and it guides everything we do. Fighting to expand and defend our public hospitals. Keeping safety net hospitals open. Speaking out against the for-profit takeover of hospitals. And taking a stand for safe staffing.
HHC nurses have been, and remain, at the forefront of all these fights – just as we’re leading the fight to make NYSNA the strong and powerful union we deserve.
The HHC system is the birthplace of NYSNA power. In the 1960s and 1970s, HHC nurses fought against unfair pay and extreme staffing levels. And we made change happen.
NYSNA nurses courageously came together and used bold and creative actions to win fair pay and safe staffing. Today, staffing in many HHC hospitals is better than it is in some of the city’s “elite” private hospitals.
In the 1990s, we beat back Mayor Giuliani’s proposal to privatize our HHC system.
Time and again, defending nursing and defending our public hospital system have been one and the same battle. That’s no coincidence: Nurses and public hospitals share a common purpose.
For many years, NYSNA was set up to prevent members in our union from having a voice. But HHC nurses will not be silenced.
Last year, we led the way in changing our union. More than 1,000 HHC nurses joined with more than 1,000 nurses from other hospitals at our historic May 17 meeting where – together – we voted to transform NYSNA into a democratic organization. We continue to move forward to build our unity and our strength to win safe staffing and respect for nurses.
|NYSNA nurses have fought for safe staffing and decent pay before, and won. Here, informational picketing at Kings County Hospital in the 1980’s.|
The HHC system leads the way too. We are a model for a healthcare system that puts people before profit, that’s based on the idea of universal coverage and comprehensive care. Ours is the kind of healthcare system our state and our country sorely need.
But our mission is under attack. Wall Street wants to take over and run New York hospitals. Right-wing politicians and big corporations want to deregulate healthcare. Safety net hospitals are in danger of closing.
If profiteers win, every nurse in New York will be affected – whether you work at a private or public hospital, big or small.
The people who want to destroy our mission have their plan. And we have ours:
Join us in our mission.