Hundreds of NYSNA RNs Held Press Conference on State Budget to Demand Quality Healthcare for All New Yorkers

For Immediate Release: March 22, 2023
Contact: Kristi Barnes | | 646-853-4489
Diana Moreno | | 917-327-2302 

NYSNA Held Press Conference on State Budget to Demand Quality Healthcare for All New Yorkers

Hundreds of NYSNA nurses were in Albany to meet with legislators about the state of healthcare and our budget priorities

NYSNA nurses demand a state budget that prioritizes health equity through safe staffing and fair hospital funding

Albany, N.Y.– Hundreds of New York State Nurses Association nurses were in Albany on March 22 to meet with legislators and to hold a press conference to demand a budget that prioritizes nurses and patients. Joined by State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Robert Jackson, State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assembly Member and registered nurse, Phara Souffrant Forrest, and dozens of legislators and community allies, nurses advocated for a state budget that expands access to healthcare, fully addresses chronic underfunding of safety-net and public hospitals, and stabilizes the nursing workforce by enforcing safe staffing laws, and supporting education, recruitment and retention efforts.

Click here for photos and a livestream video from the press conference. All members of the media have permission to use photos and videos with credit to NYSNA.

At the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and with a migrant and mental health crisis impacting healthcare delivery throughout the state, NYSNA members are emphasizing that our healthcare system cannot function without enough well-trained nurses to care for patients. The legislature must support nurses and patients with a budget that recruits and retains nurses now and into the future and includes fair funding to ensure that all patients can access quality care, regardless of zip code.

"We need New York State to invest in nurses the way we have invested in caring for New Yorkers. The crisis of understaffing must be solved by training committed local nurses and retaining our experienced nurses, rooted in their communities." said NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN. "As we mark the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, this budget will demonstrate whether our lawmakers are ready to invest in building a stronger, more resilient healthcare system that ensures dignified working conditions for our nurses."

"When we rose to the challenge of the pandemic, there was an unspoken contract between the nurses and the people of this state. And that contract can be summed up in two words: never again!" said Steve Bailey, RN "For the past three years, nurses have answered the call. Now we need a hero. We need politicians with not only kind words, we need leaders with the political courage to save our healthcare system."

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, "Our nurses are leaving the profession at alarming rates because of high overtime and poor working conditions. In order to keep patients safe and protect nurses, I join NYSNA in fighting budget cuts, improving working conditions for nurses and expanding the workforce of registered nurses. We can repay nurses for their tremendous sacrifices during the pandemic through these steps to strengthen the nursing profession."

Assembly Member David Weprin said, “Nurses protect all of us day-in and day-out, especially our most vulnerable. I'm proud to stand with my colleagues to support our healthcare heroes and the critical work they do. It is vital that we improve the working conditions for our nurses across the state and find ways to expand recruitment efforts. Nurses provide care in many different capacities and we need to make sure they have the necessary resources to care at the highest level.”

"Our nurses are ringing the alarm this year to safeguard and enhance our nursing practice," said Assembly Member Steven Raga. We must join our frontline heroes in shielding New York's most at-risk patients and facilities from budget cuts, better the working conditions for nurses statewide, and increase the RN workforce through actual recruitment and retention initiatives."

State Senator Liz Krueger said, "As we emerge from an unparalleled healthcare crisis, there can be no doubt that New Yorkers depend on our nurses. Whether it's caring for ourselves, our loved ones, or our most vulnerable neighbors, it is vitally important that New York nurses have the support they need to do their jobs effectively, with fair wages and working conditions."

State Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Taking care of our dedicated nurses and their patients go hand-in-hand when delivering quality care to our communities. That’s why we must do all we can to better the lives of nurses throughout the state. I proudly support NYSNA and their efforts to improve working conditions and to protect vulnerable patients and facilities from budget cuts. “

Assembly Member Monica P. Wallace said, "Nurses have dealt with incredible challenges over the past three years, including the pandemic and staffing shortages that have impacted every sector of healthcare. That's why I'm joining my Assembly colleagues in advocating for billions in additional funding to support financially distressed hospitals and nursing homes, increase reimbursement rates for hospitals and nursing homes, and expand mental health services. In order for New Yorkers to receive the care they deserve, we need to have a strong and stable healthcare system and a nursing workforce that is well compensated and large enough to meet our state's needs."

“We owe nurses a debt of gratitude for their tireless dedication and service. I am proud to stand with NYSNA in their demands to defend and strengthen our nursing practice, protect New York's most vulnerable patients and facilities from budget cuts, improve the working conditions for nurses throughout the state, and expand the RN workforce with real recruitment and retention efforts - because our healthcare workers make us all stronger," said State Senator Robert Jackson.

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am proud to stand with my colleagues and the incredible nurses of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) as they fight for an all-around more sustainable work environment. We have depended on nurses more than ever for the past three years. While many of us were able to stay at home during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, these nurses sacrificed time with their families and even risked their lives to help others. We must do everything we can to ensure they are respected and have the resources they need to best treat patients, including the expansion of recruitment and retention efforts.”

Assembly Member Dana Levenberg said, “Nurses are mission-critical to the successful delivery of healthcare - recruiting and retaining skilled nurses is of paramount importance. We must ensure that nurses have the compensation and working conditions they deserve. I am proud to stand with the New York State Nurses Association to ensure that our nurses have what they need to thrive as they care for all of us.”

Assembly Member Angelo Santabarbara said, “As alarming staffing shortages and budget cuts threaten the physical and mental health of nurses on the job as well as the quality of care they can give their patients, I stand with the New York State Nurses’ Association in support of nurses everywhere during this time of crisis," said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. "Our nurses work hard every day to protect and care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers; and saying “thank you” is not enough — as budget negotiations continue, you can be sure l’ll keep fighting to strengthen the infrastructure of our hospitals and nursing homes, ensure safe conditions for nurses and patients and redouble efforts to recruit and retain a sustainable health care workforce.”

Assembly Member Jonathan Jacobson said, “It’s not enough to pass laws like the recent Safe Staffing legislation, we must make sure they’re enforced. Too many residents of our communities are not getting quality healthcare because our hospitals and nursing homes do not have enough nurses. I stand with the nurses in their quest for additional funding in this year’s budget.”

Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest said, "Too many legislators don’t know the effect of budget cuts on the lives of nurses and our patients. Well, I’m a nurse and I do know what it feels like. I know how important nurses are and I know how hard we work. It’s high time we in Albany prioritize paying nurses what they’re worth and it’s high time we provide the funding they need to do their jobs."

Assembly Member Phil Steck said, “As an advocate for the patients served by Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, as well as on behalf of all hospitals in the state that are struggling to keep pace with the cost of doing business, I support NYSNA’s effort to focus attention on the needs of hospitals in this budget season. We cannot afford to have inadequacies in care due to underfunding. I agree with NYSNA that the ability of hospitals to continue all the services they currently provide is a top budget priority.”

“I’m with NYSNA in the fight for safe staffing in hospitals and nursing homes. This is the lesson we learned from the pandemic -- quality of care for our fellow New Yorkers depends on there being enough nurses and frontline caregivers on the job." said State Senator Iwen Chu. “Budget cuts and understaffed medical facilities create a crisis that will hurt patients throughout New York State. Nurses are our heroes and we must equip our heroes so they can fight for the safety and health of our loved ones."

"Throughout the pandemic, we declared that our nurses are our heroes. Each day, they put our needs before their own, and now, we must put their needs first," said Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal. "Our final budget must include long-awaited investments to ensure healthcare facilities can retain and recruit nurses to alleviate the staffing shortage, improve working conditions statewide and protect vulnerable patients and facilities against any impending budget cuts. New York's nurses are the keystone of our healthcare system and we must not turn our backs on them."

State Senator Sean M. Ryan said, "Guaranteeing exemplary medical care in New York begins with backing our healthcare professionals. Our healthcare system wouldn't work without the tireless efforts of New York's nurses. By prioritizing safe staffing and providing adequate funding, we can help attract and retain the workers that are so essential to our state's hospitals."

Assembly Member Khaleel M. Anderson said, "I proudly join the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) members in their call to strengthen nursing programs, improve workplace conditions, and expand pathways for more registered nurses to enter and remain in the workforce statewide. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inadequacies of our public health system, and imposing budget cuts on New York's most vulnerable patients and facilities is even more dangerous. We must invest in robust nursing recruitment and retention to ensure quality health care for all."

Assembly Member Aileen Gunther said, “Since becoming a member of the Assembly, I have never forgotten where I came from – the 11 to 7 shift in the ER, the MHU, Labor and Delivery. It’s why I have fought day in and day out to make sure that RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and everybody working in healthcare has the protections they need to do the job they love. Every time we’ve fought together for basic protections, the hospitals said it would be the end of healthcare as we know it. Yet here we all are. With the changes we have made the sky has not fallen and hospitals are still open. The truth of the matter is this, nursing is a profession dominated by women. Ending mandatory overtime, creating safe patient handling policies, defending against budget cuts, and safe staffing are so important for our industry, and all of New York State. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and I know we have more great things ahead of us.”

State Senator Pete Harckham said, “It is my great honor to support the New York State Nurses Association and its true frontline professionals, who protected and cared for our residents during the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to exert heroic efforts each and every day. The safeguarding of our communities would not be possible without the dedication and abilities of nurses. I look forward to partnering with NYSNA’s professionals in the future to ensure high-quality healthcare is available for all, which is best accomplished with safe staffing levels, professional recruitment and training of new nurses and proper investments in healthcare facilities.”

Assemblymember Al Taylor said, "As we come together, we must stand up for the nurses who continue to fight for support and better pay within their hospitals. Nearly two-thirds of nurses across the country say they plan to leave the profession within the next two years, adding fuel to an already alarming staffing crisis. Our healthcare workers are grappling with historic levels of exhaustion and burnout, and we cannot afford to ignore the needs of caregivers who have sacrificed so much while providing top-quality care. Nurses everywhere deserve safe staffing ratios, good healthcare benefits, competitive pay, and fair contracts to improve patient outcomes, strengthen their workforce, and better support our communities. I stand with 17,000 NYSNA members around New York State in demanding change and calling upon hospital leadership to put the lives and wellbeing of hardworking nurses and the people of New York over profit."

“Over the last two and a half years, nurses in New York’s hospitals have gone above and beyond to care for New Yorkers in the face of an unprecedented crisis that brought our healthcare system to its knees. Despite our attempts in Albany to ensure hospitals protect patients and workers alike by requiring safe staffing ratios, many continue to drop the ball. Nurses have always been the backbone of our healthcare system. I’m proud to stand with NYSNA and join them in their fight for safe staffing ratios, community engagement, and safe working conditions, and investment in recruitment and retention,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas.

“You were there when we needed you the most, and I am here when you need us the most,” said Assembly Member Brian A. Cunningham. “Nurses carried us through the pandemic, and they continue to serve tirelessly on the front lines to keep us all healthy no matter what the circumstances. I want to assure you all that we are here to advocate for clean and safe healthcare facilities, equitable funding across the industry, and will allocate the resources to nurture the next generation of nurses to reflect the diversity of our communities and those you serve.

Assembly Member Chris Burdick said, “Since arriving in the Assembly I have stood shoulder to shoulder at rallies for our nurses whether for fair collective bargaining agreements or to press for a state budget to expand access to healthcare. It is critical that this year’s state budget address the workforce shortage and I will continue to fight for that.”

“I am proud to stand with NYSNA in demanding a state budget that emphasizes healthy equity and makes sure there is fair and safe staffing at every hospital. In my district and everywhere across New York we saw COVID-19 completely change the nursing workforce. The physical and emotional burden that has been left on our nurses is nothing short of horrific. This legislature must ensure that this budget is a reflection of the ability to recruit and retain the nursing workforce, now and into the future,” said Assembly Member Charles D. Fall.

Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "When our neighbors need to receive medical care, it's hard-working nurses who are there to provide it. We need a state budget that reflects the importance of nurses in our communities — a budget which supports better pay, better working conditions, and improves worker retention. I stand with NYSNA workers to fight for a state budget that keeps our communities healthy."

“As we continue recovering from the pandemic, our public health system needs reinvestment. If we expect our nurses to continue serving and protecting us, they deserve our recognition and respect,” said Assembly Member Grace Lee. “Throughout the year, I have supported the efforts of New York’s nurses to negotiate new contracts and going forward, I will be advocating for their right to fair pay and a safe work environment in the state budget.”


The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.

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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.