NEW YORK NURSE: August 2012
One bill topped the priority list for NYSNA, other healthcare unions and patient advocates in the 2012 legislative session — the Safe Patient Handling bill.
The bill passed the state Senate in its final session - with all Democrats voting in favor, and all Republicans voting in favor — except two, Senator Thomas O’Mara from the Elmira/Corning area, and Senator Elizabeth Little from the Plattsburgh/North Country area. Both of these Senators have large numbers of NYSNA members who live and work in their districts.
“This bill had near unanimous support in the state Senate because it meant better care for patients and safer conditions for health care workers,” said Nancy Kaleda, NYSNA’s Deputy Director. “The patients, families and nurses in their districts all deserve an answer - why would elected officials vote against a bill that would make area hospitals safer?”
To keep the pressure on the No-voters, NYSNA sponsored newspaper ads in three of O’Mara’s district daily newspapers and in the principal paper in Little’s district. (See copy of ad, right.)
The safe patient coalition was also disappointed that the state Assembly did not vote on the bill. NYSNA sent postcards to members in the districts of Assembly members who were strong advocates of the bill and asked the nurses to thank their Assembly person for the support.
These efforts were a part of NYSNA’s new emphasis on coordinated political action, as we enter the 2013 session when hundreds of NYSNA nurses will be a huge voice in Albany and in their communities for a safe staffing bill.