Safe, quality care depends on enough nurses and frontline caregivers to do the job. That’s why NYSNA fights for safe staffing on every unit, in every healthcare facility in the state. By uniting and organizing together, NYSNA nurses have won serious improvements to staffing through our contracts and the law. Safe staffing saves lives. We know it will take organized nurses to set, monitor and enforce the new law and our safe staffing standards. That is why we are actively organizing staffing committees and working with our labor partners who represent other direct caregivers covered by the law to create the strongest standards possible.
About the New Staffing Law
The law codifies mandatory staffing levels at all hospitals in New York and opens the pathway to future universal ratios. The new law:
- Creates staffing committees of nurses and frontline staff who meet with management to craft annual staffing plans that clearly indicate patient assignments for nurses and other direct care staff by unit and shift. Nurses and frontline caregivers must comprise at least half of the committees.
- Automatically includes all contractual staffing grids and ratios negotiated by NYSNA in the facility staffing plan, so that existing grids and ratios become both a model and a floor for the staffing standards that are possible.
- Makes NYSNA’s current grids and ratios NYS law—all while preserving the contractual enforcement rights on staffing.
- Makes staffing data at every hospital public for the first time.
- Establishes all staffing plans as enforceable by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) with state penalties.
In sum, the new law gives nurses three key tools to fight for safe staffing:
- We create standards through hospital staffing committees.
- We share information, with staffing captains monitoring and posting staffing at their facilities via the public staffing dashboard. This way, we can show staff at non-union facilities the kind of staffing NYSNA fights for and wins.
- We name and shame: the law empowers the DOH to investigate and fine employers who block progress on safe staffing. We can use the data shared by staffing captains to push the DOH to protect patients.
About Hospital Staffing Committees
The clinical staffing committees are the foundation for safe staffing in New York State. Under the new law, each hospital must create a clinical staffing committee that is at least 50% labor: workers choose workers. NYSNA is coordinating with labor allies, including the Public Employees Federation (PEF), 1199SEIU, and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), to ensure that all direct caregivers are represented in the staffing committees. By uniting with other healthcare workers, we will have a stronger voice to demand true safe staffing from management.
The law requires clinical staffing plans to be drawn up for each care shift. It also empowers the Department of Health to investigate and fine employers who block progress on safe staffing. A statewide joint staffing committee uniting NYSNA with other healthcare unions will support the hospital staffing committees, while pushing the DOH to take action on hospitals who do not comply with the law. Read about the joint staffing committee’s work so far.
We need strong staffing committees at every hospital to fight for our patients. Learn more about the goals and guidelines for hospital staffing committees here.
Resources and How to Get Involved
Staffing captains will lead the effort to monitor staffing in our facilities, enforce standards, and share data with fellow nurses. Become a captain today!