**MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TODAY, FEB. 9 AT 6:30 PM**
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NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams to Join NYSNA H+H/Mayorals Nurses & Healthcare Advocates for Forum on Understaffing and Health Disparities
NYSNA nurses are uniting with elected leaders and allies to address the understaffing crisis at NYC’s public hospitals that is worsening health disparities for the city’s most vulnerable patients
With union contract set to expire March 2nd, 9,000 Heath+Hospitals/Mayorals System nurses are demanding pay parity with private sector
New York, NY— On Thursday, February 9 at 6:30 PM, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will join NYSNA nurses and allies for a community forum and panel on understaffing and health disparities in our city’s public hospital system. 9,000 Heath+Hospitals/Mayorals System nurses are gearing up for negotiations as their union contract expires on March 2nd. Nurses say their number one issue is health equity and addressing the understaffing crisis that is worsening disparities in care for New York City’s most vulnerable patients. NYSNA members are demanding that the city live up to its agreement on pay parity with the private sector to stop the bleed of nurses from public hospitals.
WHAT: Community forum and panel discussion on health equity and understaffing at NYC’s public hospitals
WHO: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Borough Presidents Antonio Reynoso and Mark Levine, NYSNA H+H/ Mayorals nurses, community and healthcare advocates
WHERE: New York State Nurses Association 2nd Floor Auditorium, 131 W 33rd St, New York, NY 10001
WHEN: 6:30 PM, Thursday, February 9, 2023
NYC’s public sector nurses are mobilizing on the heels of a strike victory for private sector nurses, who won groundbreaking contracts that improved staffing and included 19.9 percent pay increases. With the new raises for private-sector hospital nurses, the pay disparity for newly graduated nurses in the public sector will be over $19,000 per year.
President of NYSNA’s NYC Health+Hospitals/ Mayorals Executive Council and nurse at Lincoln Hospital, Sonia Lawrence, RN, said: “Last week alone, dozens of nurses resigned from my hospital. In the Emergency Department, which is already staffed mostly by traveler nurses, there’s a resignation on nearly every shift. The community near Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx has a history of rising up and demanding healthcare justice. We are organizing to fight for our patients and community members, the mostly black and brown patients we serve, with a nursing force led by women of color. The time to act is now.”
Judith Cutchin, DNP, RN, First Vice President of NYSNA, said: “Without NYSNA’s H+H members as the frontline nurses who administered vaccines and who fought covid through the worst of it – the world as we know it may be different. The crisis outside the hospital walls seems to be improving, but inside our hospitals, it rages on. Nurse retention is the worst I’ve ever seen it. Nurses are leaving H+H or the bedside entirely. Some units are staffed mostly with travel nurses. Expensive, short-term travel nurse contracts waste public resources, cause morale problems among full-time nurses from the community, and undermine quality of care for our patients.”
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, said: “Nurses have been fighting in New York and throughout the country for dignity, respect and fairness at the workplace. This year and last - we have had many victories. What we need now is a victory for our hard-working public sector nurses. New York City’s Health+Hospitals/Mayorals system is the foundation of public health for the entire city and that foundation can’t exist without nurses. Our public sector nurses are also the foundation and the heart of our union. They are NYSNA’s largest bargaining unit and have always been at the forefront of our union’s fight for health equity, civil rights, and social justice.”
"As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the hard work, expertise, and dedication of nurses keeps New Yorkers safe and New York's hospitals running. Nurses want more than anything to help their patients. That incredible compassion, though, is not a substitute for fair pay, fair staffing, and fair conditions. We need to continue to support the people who are at the core of our city's health care system, to step up and support them just as they support all of us in our worst moments of medical crisis." said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“Justice for our nurses means health equity for the New Yorkers who rely most on our public hospitals: families with lower incomes, people who don’t have insurance or citizenship, and Black and Brown New Yorkers who have been marginalized by our healthcare system for generations,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Because we’re not paying our public sector nurses what they need and deserve, they’re leaving for private institutions that pay more and provide better contracts. This means a staffing crisis that puts quality care in peril. It’s simple: the longer we let this chronic and widening pay gap go unanswered, the sicker and deadlier our City will become. We need a coordinated effort from our City and State government to set a new standard for how we support our public sector nurses, and to provide the funding and resources that ensure we can achieve it. I hope that this time around our nurses won’t face the same resistance to a fair and just contract, and if they do, I will be there with them fighting for the justice they and the people they care for deserve.”
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said: “The health of our city hinges on nurses at public hospitals winning an equitable, market-rate contract,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “This is a matter of fair wages for the heroes who are the backbone of our public health system as much as it is an equity issue. The primary healthcare infrastructure for many working-class, Black, and brown New Yorkers, public hospitals need to be served by nurses who aren’t consistently burned out and leaving for the private sector in order to be able to provide the highest-quality care.”
CIR SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Michael Zingman said, "NYC H+H hospitals are an essential resource for our city and CIR resident physicians are so proud to serve our patients day in and day out. We just want to ensure we have what we need–and our colleagues have what they need–to deliver the level of care that New Yorkers deserve. Our elected officials on the City Council and Governor Hochul must prioritize investing in the people who make H+H run as an urgent matter of health equity."
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.