Questions We Need to Be Asking

What you don’t know could actually hurt you. It has been said that the economic crisis that began in 2008 was largely because of homeowners’ irresponsible borrowing and that the “free market” is the solution to our troubles. The truth is that powerful corporations and the supremely rich push for laws to further their wealth and power. If we wish to make positive changes, we need to know what’s really going on.

Who’s driving the right-wing tendency?

The push to greater corporate power in healthcare, and throughout the economy, is no accident: It’s the result of deliberate planning and big-time money. Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been investing heavily for years in turning their austerity vision into reality, causing grave harm to hardworking families like ours.

David Koch, New York’s richest man, sits on NewYork-Presbyterian’s Board of Trustees and donated $100 million as seed money for a sparkling new medical office building that’s now under construction on the Upper East Side (hardly a medically underserved area) bearing his name.

Koch and his friends quietly created organizations like ALEC to fulfill their objectives to provide corporate free rein across the spectrum and a new social order that declares every man for himself. (See Jill Furillo’s article on page 4 for the full story.)

Healthcare in New York

This corporate agenda has led to a systematic deterioration of nursing practice and the decimation of health services to our neediest communities. As NYSNA members and leaders, we refuse to stand by and watch this happen. We have a plan, which we are implementing region by region, and a vision of what healthcare can look like.

As you will read in the following page, at NewYork-Presbyterian, NYSNA has joined with 1199 to build a working relationship in order to challenge austerity measures that harm both patients and health workers.

NYSNA has developed a set of principles (see page 5 in this issue) that defines public healthcare in New York City; our program has generated the support of other unions. We have the country’s biggest and best public system and intend not only to keep it that way, but to extend quality care so that all New Yorkers truly have access to the care they need, whether or not they have money in their pockets, no matter the neighborhood they call home.

Why Brooklyn is so important

The pitched battle over the future of community healthcare continues in Brooklyn. Every day brings new ferment, be it a mobilization, legal maneuver, hearing, or job action. You may be tired of hearing about it, but what happens in Brooklyn portends the future for patients, communities, and healthcare workers everywhere in our state.

NYSNA, in coalition with the community, other unions, and many politicians, has been successful in keeping these hospitals open for more than a year since their death knell was announced. This is unprecedented.

While the final outcome is still unknown, the fight for healthcare justice will continue. This movement must grow for communities and workers to achieve a humane healthcare system.

Staffing is the issue

We continue to build momentum to win a safe staffing bill in New York State. This is the premier practice issue for all nurses who care for patients and all the people we care for. People who say “It will never happen in New York” are defining us as powerless victims. We are not interested in being passive observers of nursing burnout and patient neglect. Read more about these issues on pages 8 and 9.

The rocky road ahead to meet our objectives simply means we have to put on the right boots. We can’t win without the involvement of our members. Don’t miss out in being a part of crafting our future. Anything is possible when we are on the right side of history.

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