Labor Unions applaud introduction of Safe Staffing legislation

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 23
Contact: Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org | 646.853.4489
Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

New York - The Communications Workers of America District 1, 1199SEIU and the New York State Nurses Association issued statements today in support of new safe staffing legislation introduced in both the Senate and Assembly. Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Aileen Gunther and Senator Gustavo Rivera would establish a process for setting and enforcing safe staffing minimum standards at every hospital and nursing home.

“We are pleased to see the legislature take up these important bills after decades of advocacy from the CWA and our union partners. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the longtime crisis of inadequate staffing in our state’s hospitals, resulting in countless preventable deaths, sickness and hardship for our members. As we continue our recovery and repair our healthcare system, we must address this long-term issue and ensure that the most vulnerable New Yorkers receive the highest-level of care. We urge the Senate and Assembly to move forward with this vital legislation and are grateful for their leadership on this issue” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA D1.

“The pandemic has made more New Yorkers aware of the vital role frontline healthcare workers play in caring for the sick and vulnerable, often without enough support.  With these bills, the New York State legislature is taking action to improve the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents, hospital patients and the workers who care for them. As the union representing over 300,000 hospital and nursing home workers statewide, we strongly support these bills,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU.  “The new requirements for minimum hours of care in nursing homes are long overdue.  We are glad New York State will finally join the majority of other states in setting clear, enforceable standards and allowing caregivers and nurses to spend desperately needed time with their residents.  The hospital bill centers the full care team and creates strong new transparency and accountability measures to ensure quality care at the bedside. We applaud the Legislature for introducing these bills.”

“This legislation has the potential to be a game changer for patients, nursing home residents, nurses, frontline healthcare workers, and ultimately, New York’s healthcare system,” said NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN. “The combination of enforceable staffing standards at every facility, along with mandated employer accountability and transparency, offers nurses and caregivers the necessary tools to promote our patients’ safety and to enable us to deliver the quality of care they so rightly deserve. We appreciate that state lawmakers moved to prioritize the needs of patients and residents, and we are committed to work tirelessly to ensure the swift enactment and implementation of these long-awaited reforms to our healthcare system.”

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.

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