For Immediate Release
Contact: Erin Silk, 518.782.9400, ext 224
LATHAM, April 29, 2010 - Today the New York State Nurses Association condemned Governor Paterson’s proposal to furlough state employees one day a week in an attempt to pressure the Legislature into accepting his proposed executive budget. Under the plan, state agencies would be forced to reduce their staffing by 20% per week through the forced furlough of essential staff.
Despite the administration’s claims that the proposal would not endanger public safety, the plan could force state agencies to reduce staffing in areas critical to enforcing safety standards in healthcare facilities and workplaces.
“The Governor doesn’t seem to comprehend the essential role that the dedicated employees of the Department of Health and Department of Labor play in insuring safe patient care. Reductions in these areas will needlessly endanger the safety of all New Yorkers,” said Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE, Nurses Association CEO. “These agencies are already struggling with inadequate staffing. It is difficult to see how they will be able to cope with the disruptions caused by this plan.
The Governor’s proposal could also reduce the Office of Professions’ ability to license nurses and ensure high standards of practice. In a state struggling with a worsening nursing shortage, this could further erode the nursing work force and staffing at healthcare facilities.
“It is wrong for the Governor to treat these dedicated professionals, and the people who rely on them to ensure their safety, as pawns in a game of political chicken,” said Gerardi. “We call on the Governor to keep these essential personnel on the job and negotiate a budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest professional association and largest union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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