Jill Furillo, RN

Jill Furillo, RN, BSN, PHN, is the executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, New York's largest union and professional association of registered nurses.

Furillo became a registered nurse in 1985 and has worked as an Emergency Room nurse, an organizer, the Executive Vice President of the RN Division of 1199, and the national bargaining director of National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S., among other roles.

As government relations director of the California Nurses Association, Furillo successfully shepherded the country's first law setting safe nurse-to-patient ratios through the California legislature. Building on this groundbreaking legislation, Furillo worked on behalf of thousands of nurses as chief negotiator and strategist at NNU to win comprehensive safe staffing standards in collective bargaining agreements in states from Nevada to Florida.

Furillo joined NYSNA as executive director in 2012 in order to help transform NYSNA into a progressive voice and union for registered nurses throughout New York. Under her leadership, NYSNA launched a campaign to keep hospitals open, winning a moratorium on all hospital closures in the state until such time as an accurate and complete assessment of the health needs of distressed communities is carried out.

It's up to us to stop a handful of lawmakers blocking Safe Staffing.

New York State lawmakers just ended their legislative session. And for the second year in a row, State Senate Health chair Kemp Hannon, the Republican/IDC Senate leadership, and a few Assembly members blocked the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.

That's not acceptable. This year, thanks to our work, a majority of sitting lawmakers in both the State Senate and Assembly signed on to support safe staffing – that’s more support than ever. Senator Hannon and a few other lawmakers had the opportunity to pass safe staffing – and save lives. Instead, they abused their power to block it. Find out what you can do to pass safe staffing.

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We all pay sales tax – on everything from school supplies to SUVs. But missing in this revenue raising routine is a sales tax on financial transactions – trading in stocks, bonds, and derivatives. As both a matter of fairness to all taxpayers and to raise funds critical to support our communities, this void needs to be filled.

More than a dozen states have laws to varying degrees covering safe staffing. But only California requires minimum nurse-to-patient ratios be maintained at all times by unit as a matter of law. It’s been a resounding success.

A dangerous last-minute budget proposal from the governor's office would amend the Nurse Practice Act to deregulate the practice of nursing — and open the door wider to corporate-driven healthcare institutions who want to replace skilled nurses with underpaid and untrained workers. This is a direct assault on quality care and access to care.

Yesterday, more than 1,000 nurses got on buses to Albany for our Safe Staffing Lobby Day. We quickly moved into action and expanded our lobby visits so that we could respond to this attack on patient safety and nursing practice.

We doubled our planned lobby visits and met with more than 170 lawmakers and their staffers. We asked our lawmakers to support the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act and also asked for them to stand with us against any changes to the Nurse Practice Act.

NYSNA has never endorsed a candidate for Mayor in the NYC primaries — until now. For the first time in our history, the NYSNA Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse Bill de Blasio to be New York City’s next mayor.

After more than a year of rallies, marches, court hearings, and even arrests, we have reached an agreement with SUNY on a new process that has the best chance of LICH remaining a hospital and which we hope will lead to the best possible outcome for the patients served by LICH.

This groundbreaking agreement requires SUNY to engage in a new open and transparent process for determining who will take over LICH, a process which prioritizes operators committed to running a full-service hospital and which gives the community significant decision-making power. Never before has the community had a voice in determining the future of a hospital.

LICH nurses continue to put community needs first. At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night, with more than fifty people in attendance, NYSNA RNs, along with doctors, 1199SEIU caregivers, and community members pledged to stay united, to move forward with one voice, and to stick together no matter what. Our coalition has kept the hospital open for more than a year, and our united coalition is the best hope for meeting the healthcare needs of the community.

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The American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, which drafts, distributes, and promotes legislation at the state level across the U.S., has released details of its draconian blueprint for America in the form of a 2014 agenda. Consumers, workers, environmentalists, school children: beware.

By Jill Furillo, RN, NYSNA Executive Director

The world lost one of its great leaders with Nelson Mandela’s death. Around the globe, people have mourned the loss and celebrated the inspiration that, as President Obama put it, “one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth” gave to all of humanity. His unbending resolve and unmatched political and organizing skill have taught many how to turn dreams into reality.

No one needs to tell a New York nurse that healthcare is in crisis in our state. You experience it every day. Inadequate staffing. Service cuts. Units closed. Hospitals shut down. New Yorkers in need of care they can’t get. The consequences are shocking – and dangerous. Some nurses have been forced to care for as many as 16 patients at a time.

By Jill Furillo, RN, NYSNA Executive Director

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