HHC nurses stand up to put patients first

HHC nurses put patients before profits every day. That’s our mission — at the bedside and in the political process, too. And what we’ve been doing is working. We won significant victories this year to stop the for-profit takeover of New York hospitals. Together we:

Stopped Wall Street and private equity investors from taking over New York hospitals. When for-profit chains take over hospitals, public hospitals and our patients are their first target. They poach paying patients and give anti-union politicians an excuse to cut public services.

Stopped the plan to deregulate Certificate of Need, the process that gives nurses and patients a voice when hospitals want to cut services. If the Koch brothers had gotten their way, private hospitals would have been free to lure patients with top insurance to them while shifting their “unprofitable” patients onto our public hospital system.

Kept struggling community hospitals, like LICH and Interfaith, open for care. If these hospitals had closed, ER wait times in public and private hospitals would have shot through the roof, and staffing would have gotten worse.

Fought patient-care cuts in private hospitals. We joined up with Harlem community members to fight Continuum’s closure of the pediatrics and detox units at St. Luke’s. This was another attempt of a private hospital chain to cut care for those with limited, or no, ability to pay and to shift the burden onto our public hospitals.

Stood up to a billionaire mayor. Mayor Bloomberg tried to ignore the public health crisis created by Hurricane Sandy, and he never acknowledged the work we did to save thousands of lives. But we made ourselves heard, at City Hall and in Albany. Thousands of us rallied on May 21 and again on June 12 for safe staffing in ALL NYC hospitals, public and private.

Our fight is far from over. Wall Street still plans to take over New York hospitals. We are showing that together we can stand up to corporate interests and protect our patients. And we will not back down.

We’re building the movement for healthcare for all. Together, we are fighting to unite public and private sector nurses to win strong contracts that guarantee quality patient care and defend our practice; to stop the Wall Street attack on patient care; to pass safe staffing legislation; and to win a moratorium on all hospital cuts and closures.

“We need public hospitals to stay open; people to get the care they need where they live; nurses who aren’t overtired, overtaxed, who are paid properly. I’m pushing myself to be more active, to bring others with me.” – Guanda White, RN, Queens Hospital
“Low-income, densely populated areas are at risk. The rally on Oct. 17 is important. When we make a lot of noise, we make New Yorkers aware. We have to have our voices heard. We won’t win overnight. This fight is for the next generation, too.” – Patricia Deandrade, RN, Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital     

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