“We live here. We work here. We care here.”

More than 140 NYSNA nurses and supporters marched with homemade signs in front of Gloversville's Nathan Littauer Hospital this week. Our message: management needs to work with us to make sure our hospital is the best place to work and receive care.

"We're all from this community and have sacrificed for the benefit of Nathan Littauer. We're asking for a fair contract that includes enforceable safe staffing levels and protects the quality of care for our patients," said Mirim Mustafa, RN at Nathan Littauer.

We have made several proposals to management to improve patient care - like increased nurse staffing, a plan to ensure that our community has a say in how their hospital is run, affordable healthcare and professional wages to help recruit and retain nurses, and a committee that includes RNs to make regular recommendations on patient care.

Instead of working with us, management has tried to intimidate us for speaking out for our patients – and exercising our legal right to work collectively as union members to improve our conditions. (This violates federal labor law and we have filed an unfair labor practice charge against hospital management.)

Management's intimidation isn't working. Union members from 1199SEIU, CSEA, PEF, CWA and Teamsters Local 294 showed up to walk with us.

"We all went to school to become patient advocates," said Marion Enright, a registered nurse for 25 years at the hospital. "The day that I stop being a patient advocate is the day that I stop being a nurse."