RNs say: The union makes us strong!

NYSNA nurses confronted with the U.S. Supreme Court decision (a bare majority 5-4) in the Janus case are standing tall and speaking out: the union makes us strong!

NYSNA members, in concert with other public sector union members directly impacted by the court decision, are firm in the beliefs that the unity and power of the union is what protects their jobs, wages and benefits, and combines to deliver quality care to patients and defend a decent quality of life in communities around the state. 

RNs ready to fight the Janus threat

“Some people believe that the union just advocates for the nurses, but we advocate for the patients, too. Safe nurses mean safe patients. If you have a nurse who is overexerted because of unsafe staffing, then it’s not safe for the patient. It’s important to have everything well run, and the union is part of that.”

–Yvonne Tulsie Seymour, RN, Medical ICU, Bellevue

“Our fight is not over. There are powerful forces that will attempt to thwart the progress we have made. It is only through our own determination and on-going commitment as nurses, working within a democratic and activist union, that we can defeat these forces; the same forces that created Janus and seek to destroy unions and the rights of working people. When we fight we win! Never give up!”

–NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN


“We have accomplished a great deal through the unity of our union. And we will use that unity to blunt the Janus decision and its goals to do away with collective bargaining and unions altogether.”

–Deb Cava, RN, Westchester Medical Center


“Nurses are about caring. The union is very important to make sure we get fair treatment.”

–Ukenna Chizoba,RN, Surgical ICU, Lincoln Hospital

“We understand that the Janus decision is aimed directly at us. The forces behind it want to end collective bargaining and our union. Our existence as professional nurses is being threatened and we will band together to stop it. The unity of NYSNA got us a good contract that protects our patients who come from many communities in many surrounding counties. We will fight for our union and our patients.”

- Lisa Hauss, an RN and Erie County Medical Center unit manager


“You can’t take away NYSNA. Who would then advocate for us?”

–Mireille Agokeng, RN, ER, Lincoln Hospital


“I had an experience where I was out sick and I had a couple of days off in between. Management decided that they weren’t going to pay me for the day that I called in sick and another day. I reached out to my Reps and they were very instrumental in getting me my money back. One of the greatest things we have is representation.”

–Odette Freckleton, RN, Labor & Delivery, Kings County



“The unity of NYSNA got us a good contract that protects our patients who come from many communities in many surrounding counties. We will fight for our union and our patients.”

–Lisa Hauss, RN, ECMC Unit Manager


“We need to stay union strong. Without the union, we have no voice. When we are union–we become one group, one voice. Whenever there’s a problem, we are stronger as a team than as individuals.”

–Speranta Duliepre, RN, Harlem Hospital


Statement–Judith Cutchin, RN

We are living in the midst of a profound shift in power in this nation.

The Janus decision is a piece of that shift.

It is not really about the Bill of Rights.

It is about the power of America’s elites to gain greater power over the resources of this nation.

It is a bold assertion to take down public unions, and ultimately all unions.

By doing away with agency fees and allowing the free ride in public unions, the Court perpetuates a terrible wrong.

Justice Kagan, in her dissent, wrote that with Janus the court:

Interferes with “thousands of ongoing contracts involving millions of employees” and “prevents the american people… from making important choices about workplace governance.”

She concluded:

“The First Amendment was meant for better things. It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance—incuding over the role of public-sector unions.”

We join today with our brothers and sisters in public unions to say:

“We will not be defeated by Janus!”

Our members have already come forward in large numbers to say:

“Our union is fundamental to our work and the protection of the millions of patients we see in the New York City public system each year. We stand with it.”

We also know that the strength of unions is the way to put America back on a track that protects communities, public services, the environment and decent wages and benefits. For all Americans.

For those attacking immigrant families at the border, seeking to take away healthcare for millions of families, undoing our public schools and services, taking America away from its people…

We say: “No way!!”

We will push Janus aside!

We will stop the billionaire elites and the inequality they are bringing on!

We can do it with our unions.

Union solidarity is the answer.

Unions make us strong!! 


From Justice Kagan’s dissent in Janus

“Speech is everywhere—a part of human activity (employment, healthcare, securities trading, you name it). For that reason, almost all economic and regulatory policy affects or touches speech. So the majority’s road runs long. And at every stop are black-robed rulers overriding citizens’ choices. The First Amendment was meant for better things. It was meant not to undermine, but to protect democratic governance—including over the role of public-sector unions.”

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