NEW YORK NURSE: October/November 2008
This year, two former NYSNA presidents – Verlia M. Brown and Lolita Compas – received the Delegate Assembly Award for their years of extensive contributions to the association’s collective bargaining program.
Compas, NYSNA president from 2003 to 2005, served as LBU chair at Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan for 23 years. As a result of her efforts in the early 1980s, Cabrini became one of the first NYSNA bargaining units to win recognition for professional certification into their contract.
When word came in late 2007 that Cabrini was one of the hospitals marked for closure by the Berger Commission, Compas’ solid leadership helped keep RNs’ morale high during the months of uncertainty. She encouraged them to focus on providing professional care to their patients – even as administration’s mismanagement of the closing deprived many nurses of their paychecks and health insurance. An RN for 37 years, she has played a major role in the fight to stop exploitation of foreign-educated nurses in the United States.
Brown, who was NYSNA president from 2005 to 2007, has been a strong advocate for the rights of RNs and patients since she came to Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn 34 years ago. Troubled about the treatment of RNs in city facilities, Brown was persuaded by long-time Kings County bargaining unit leader Maggie Jacobs to watch the proceedings of the NYSNA HHC Executive Committee – and was elected secretary at her first meeting! She was an important part of the negotiating team that won pay parity for city nurses in 1988 and was a founding member of the Delegate Assembly. She also played a key role in helping to mobilize HHC nurses to participate in collective activities during their most recent contract negotiations from 2005 to 2007, letting HHC executives know that city nurses were not going to be silent any longer. Brown is the current president of the NYSNA HHC Executive Committee.