NY Presbyterian Nurses & Caregivers Rallied Today for Quality Care & Against Corporate Greed


December 5, 2013


Eliza Bates, NYSNA, 917.565.2976, eliza.bates@nysna.org
Robert Hadley, 1199SEIU, 646.627.0382, robert.hadley@1199.org


NYSNA & 1199SEIU Unite to Put Patients before Profits at NYC Hospital


New York, NY, December 5, 2013: In Washington Heights today, caregivers and nurses rallied for quality care at New York Presbyterian and spoke out against corporate healthcare profiteers. Protesters received a surprise visit from actor and activist Danny Glover, and were joined by elected leaders, including Public Advocate-Elect Letitia James.


Concerned about the increasing “corporatization” of NY Presbyterian hospital and especially the growing influence on management of David Koch, the right-wing billionaire and funder of ultra conservative groups and think tanks, registered nurses at the giant academic medical center have joined with several thousand technical, professional, secretarial, service and maintenance workers at the facility to launch the Campaign for Quality Care.


The RNs, members of New York State Nurses Association, and the healthcare workers who belong to 1199SEIU, have become alarmed that NY Presbyterian has chosen not to listen to concerns about staffing levels and patient care issues in the hospital. Nurses and caregivers from both unions are working together to ensure NY Presbyterian continues to provide the world class healthcare that made the hospital profitable in the first place.


"NYSNA nurses are proud to unite with 1199SEIU for one strong voice to advocate for access to quality, affordable healthcare for all," said NYSNA Executive Director Jill Furillo, RN. "We're going to stop corporate profiteers like the Koch brothers from putting profits before patients, and we're going to keep standing up for a new day in New York City."


“Presbyterian is an extremely profitable system and the top executives are making millions of dollars a year. They can easily afford to treat nurses and healthcare workers with respect and address concerns about safe staffing and quality patient care. It’s our hope that instead of going in the direction of the Koch Brothers’ extreme right wing ideology, Presbyterian will do what’s best for New Yorkers and put patients before profits,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.


"Right-wing, anti-union profiteers like David Koch should not be meddling with healthcare in New York City," said Public Advocate-Elect Letitia James. "I am committed to standing with 1199 caregivers, NYSNA nurses, and the Washington Heights community to put patient care before corporate profits."

"From their round-the-clock care of our neediest residents to their remarkable service in the wake of Sandy, the men and women of 1199 and NYSNA serve with distinction and deserve a fair contract that reflects their invaluable contributions," said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. "I urge Presbyterian to come to the negotiating table in good faith, and provide greater support for these middle-class jobs that our communities depend on."

“I am saddened that New York Presbyterian has adopted these misguided policies that prioritize profits to the detriment of the hospital’s employees, its patients, and the neighboring community,” Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa said. “Top executives rake in millions, yet hospital floors remain short staffed, neighbors are being evicted from their homes, and employees have been forced to choose unfairly between healthcare and modest pay raises. We must fight these unjust and anti-union policies that threaten the bedrock of our community.” 

"As executive compensation soars, Presbyterian employees are not only getting left behind, many of them are losing their homes," said Senator Adriano Espaillat. "These longtime workers are part of the fabric of our community, and I am committed to protecting their affordable housing before it is permanently lost. At at time when we should be focused on improving patient care, it is troubling that hospital management seems intent on pursuing divisive anti-union policies."

“I join 1199SEIU and NYSNA in their fight against Koch-influenced short-staffing, anti-union hiring practices and the corporatization of Presbyterian Healthcare, and call for a fair treatment of the caregivers that would ultimately lead to quality care for the patients,” said Representative Charles B. Rangel.  

Noted funder of anti-union and right-wing causes, David Koch has made a multimillion dollar gift to build a new pavilion in his name and has joined the hospital’s board. NY Presbyterian is building a new $900 million Ambulatory Care Center, which will have more than 300 non-union workers, despite the fact that the hospital is made up of a union workforce.

David and his billionaire brother Charles support ultra-conservative groups, financing and seeking to undermine and oppose the Obama administration, the environment, women's rights, voter rights, consumer rights, financial regulations and the stability of the entire social safety net.

This joint NYSNA/1199SEIU rally was part of a week of events coordinated with community and labor activists for a New Day for New York to stand up for low-wage workers and demand that rich pay their fair share. Hospital workers are fighting against the corporate takeover of healthcare and for access to quality, affordable healthcare for all! Photos and reporting from this rally and other New Day for New York actions can be found on Twitter by searching for #AllofUS.




The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for more than a hundred thousand frontline nurses.We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses.


1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 350,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and quality jobs for all.


The New York State Nurses Association is a union of 42,000 frontline nurses united together for strength at work, our practice, safe staffing, and healthcare for all. We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses.