**MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TODAY, WED, JUNE 7 AT 12 PM**
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TODAY AT 12 NOON: NYC Public Hospital Nurses to Rally at Bellevue Hospital to Demand Fair Contract
The majority Black & Brown nurses who staff NYC public hospitals & mayoral agencies are calling on Mayor Adams to do the right thing for racial justice and healthcare equity
New York, N.Y.— Today, Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 12 PM, NYSNA nurses who work for NYC public hospitals and mayoral agencies will hold a rally at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Nurses are calling on Mayor Adams to do the right thing for racial and healthcare justice for New Yorkers, and settle a fair contract with nurses that will help to recruit and retain enough caregivers at the bedside.
WHAT: Nurses Rally at Bellevue for Pay Equity & Racial Justice
WHO: NYC Public Hospital & Mayoral Agency Nurses, Allies, and Elected Leaders, including Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, City Council Labor Chair Carmen De La Rosa, City Council Hospitals Chair Mercedes Narcisse, City Council Health Committee Chair Lynn Schulman, Reverend Kirsten John Foy, and New York Immigration Coalition's Murad Awawdeh.
WHERE: Bellevue Hospital, 462 1st Ave in Manhattan
WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 12 PM
VISUALS: Hundreds of NYSNA nurses with signs rallying
According to data the city has shared, NYC spent over half a billion dollars on temporary travel nurse contracts in 2022 – largely to fill gaps created by the city paying staff nurses too little to be able to afford to stay at the bedside. Much of that money went to for-profit staffing companies instead of into the pockets of Black and Brown New Yorkers caring for their communities. NYC could save hundreds of millions of dollars and solve the crisis of high turnover and chronic understaffing by raising pay for public hospital nurses, who make nearly $20,000 less a year than their private sector counterparts.
City officials, including Comptroller Brad Lander, are also raising concerns about the high costs and implications for standards of care with NYC Health+Hospitals’ reliance on temporary travel nurses. According to Politico, his office sent a letter last week demanding data and documents related to the public system’s spending with temporary staffing agencies.
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, said: “When I was growing up, my entire family would travel from Staten Island to Kings County Hospital because we knew we could find a nurse to speak Haitian Creole. I am worried about what will happen to New York’s communities of color, immigrant communities, and low-income communities that depend on H+H for their care. I am worried about what will be left of our essential public health system without enough nurses. Our message today to Mayor Adams is: No contract! No peace!”
Sonia Lawrence, RN, BSN, at H+H/Lincoln Hospital and President of NYSNA’s NYC Health+Hospitals/Mayorals Executive Council said: “We’re calling on Mayor Adams to listen to frontline nurses. We are sick and tired of being asked to do more with less. We know the city can afford to raise pay for public hospital nurses so that we can afford to stay at the bedside and so that all of our patients can get the care they need. Instead of investing in the Black and Brown women who staff our public hospitals, the city is spending hundreds of millions on temporary travel nurse contracts.”
H+H/Bellevue nurse Mercedes Cruz, RN, said: “When we are well-staffed, we can deliver medications on time, talk to our patients, and defuse situations before they erupt. But more often than not we’re understaffed. When I talk to nurses on units who should have a maximum of 6 patients, they typically have 7 or 8, and even more on the weekend. How would you like your loved one to be the 8th patient? Your nurse would be literally running from patient to patient trying to get everything done on time, with barely any time to talk to you. She might also be exhausted, because more than likely, she is working two jobs to make ends meet.”
"Safe staffing is a health equity issue – unequal pay for nurses leads to dangerous understaffing and unequal care for our most vulnerable patients who rely on the city's public hospital system. We have seen too many nurses burn out in and leave the H+H system," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "I stand in solidarity with our public hospital nurses and urge the NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation to come to an agreement for a fair contract that guarantees safe staffing levels and provides the pay equity public hospital nurses deserve."
“Public sector nurses care for NYC’s most vulnerable patients, who are mostly Black and brown and low-income, with little access to affordable health insurance. But high turnover and crisis-level understaffing is making it harder for them to give patients the care they deserve. The COVID 19 pandemic made it abundantly clear how much we rely on our public sector healthcare professionals to keep every New Yorker safe and healthy. That’s why we need fair funding for New York City’s public health system. This is a time for investment in the health of this city and its essential workers, not austerity. An investment in our public health system, is an investment in our communities and in our collective futures,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.
"We stand with the New York State Nurses Association and the nurses at NYC Health+Hospitals. Nurses have been at the front lines throughout the pandemic and are heroes that save lives. It's vital that we invest in nurses by ensuring that they are paid a living wage and that hospitals are staffed to meet the needs of patients! Chronic understaffing harms patient care and forces nurses onto the picket line when they would rather be at their patients’ bedside. I’m proud to stand with NYSNA nurses as they fight to protect patients and their ability to support those patients,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, AD-74 Manhattan.
“Our City’s public sector nurses need a fair contract to ensure that working class New Yorkers who depend on our public health system are able to access the same high standard of care as patients at private-sector hospitals,” said New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez. “Right now, low pay and understaffing are causing a healthcare crisis, compromising the quality of patient care in our working class communities. Our City should be investing in our public healthcare system and our essential workers, not wasting millions of dollars a year on temp agency contracts. The entire New York City Labor Movement will continue to stand with NYSNA and our nearly 9,000 Health+Hospitals nurses as they fight for the contract they need in order to deliver the high quality, compassionate health care that working New Yorkers deserve."
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.
For more information, visit nysna.org.