News Briefs: January/February 2015

Long Island members meet

Twenty-two members from Long Island met at their first inter-regional for 2015 recently. Among the agenda items, was how to utilize POAs more effectively in contract campaigns. Bargaining is forthcoming at three Catholic Health Services system hospitals: St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, and St. Catherine Hospital in Smithtown. North Shore Southside Hospital is in bargaining and its progress was also discussed.

All nurses at the inter-regional renewed their commitment to help pass the safe staffing bill, Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.

NY Methodist nurses protect Brooklyn patients

New York Methodist nurses are determined to ensure that every patient is delivered the highest quality care in the safe patient care environment possible. Since engaging in an informational picket in December (see photos, below), these RNs have been seeking enforcement of safe staffing guidelines upheld by an independent arbitrator. Efforts continue to reach a resolution on the number of RN hires needed to comply with the arbitration award.

New York Health Act progresses

The New York Health Act, that would implement a single payer system for New York State, passed the NY Assembly Health Committee on February 26. The vote was 15-3 among Democrats, with one excused absence. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has spearheaded the single payer movement in the State Assembly for many years and has proved to be an enduring champion of this important law. Gottfried’s support of NYSNA and its legislative agenda is critical in Albany.

Next up for this legislation: the Codes Committee where there will be a vote that determines the precise route the bill is to take.

NYSNA achieves HHC Foreign Experience Pay agreement

On January 28, 2015, the New York State Nurses Association and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation achieved an important agreement on foreign experience pay. Below are excerpts setting out how HHC shall credit foreign experience. Please contact your rep for further information and explanation.

Mary Bell-Downes, RN, honored

NYSNA members who attended the annual Labor Luncheon on February 14 in Albany joined in the congratulations for our member Mary Bell-Downes, RN, of Kings County Hospital for her years of dedicated service to the Brooklyn community. State Senator Jose Peralta, left, and Rev. Terry Melvin, NYS AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, right, were there with her.

Karine Raymond, RN, at Black and Puerto Rican Legislators luncheon

NYSNA Board Director Karine Raymond, RN, spoke to a full room on February 14, thanking the legislators and staff present and addressing healthcare disparities. “We must end healthcare disparities. We must provide every New Yorker access to quality healthcare. Regardless of socioeconomic status,” she said.

Raymond called for special attention to the DSRIP process. “DSRIP guidelines call for community and worker representatives’ participation,” she said. “Our nurses, as well as public health experts, other labor unions, patients and community representatives are doing just that: they are testifying, engaging in outreach and bringing to DSRIP decision makers our informed views on how to provide healthcare to the people – at hospitals, clinics, doctors offices and homecare.”

NYSNA joins Lunar New Year festivities in Chinatown

NYSNA joined the festivities at the 6th Annual China-town Lunar New Year Parade & Festival on February 22. The parade participants totaled more than 5,000 and featured elaborate floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances galore, Asian musicians, magicians, acrobats and procession by local organizations. NYSNA is an active part of the lower-Manhattan community, joining other healthcare workers, union members and community organizations in the celebrations.

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