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 led the lobbying effort that successfully shepherded the country's first safe nurse-to-patient ratios through the California legislature. Building on this groundbreaking legislation, Furillo worked on behalf of thousands of nurses as a 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 work with the newly elected Board of Directors and rank and file activists to help transform NYSNA into a progressive voice and union for registered nurses throughout New York. Under this new 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.
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.
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.
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.
For the first time in NYSNA’s history, we endorsed a candidate for New York City mayor this year, and we have already made a big difference in the city’s political landscape.
Our candidate, Bill de Blasio, won tremendous support in the primary because of his vision for the city — a vision that features access to quality healthcare for every New Yorker, in every neighborhood.
The Koch brothers contribute significantly to the wealthiest healthcare facilities in New York City. Yet at the same time, they have invested millions to block Medicaid, widely considered a vital program for healthcare for the poor and near poor in the U.S., with tens of millions of Americans covered.
When you look beyond the homeless, among them 20,000 children in New York City alone, beyond the hardship of elderly women from whom $75 in monthly food stamps – a week’s groceries – was “sequestered” away this year, and look past smoldering forests where firefighters died, their ranks depleted by layoffs from blistering budget cuts, what you see are piles of cash.