Nurses at CWA rally in Elmira call for change
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) - Nurses across New York State are making sure their voices are heard by the public and the Government.
On Thursday, nurses and healthcare workers from all over Elmira and other parts of the state came together for a rally in support of safe staffing legislation. The rally was hosted by the Communication Workers of America Local 111 at Grove Park in Elmira. Nurses in New York say they have been asking the Government for more than a decade to pass the, "Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act." If the proposed law is passed nurses say the crisis would finally end.
Registered nurse and organizer of Communication Workers of America, Ann Converso was one of the nurses at the rally and says the safe staffing has affected her personally. Converso says her mother was 84-years-old when she passed away and says there was no reason for it except, the staffing at the hospital was inadequate.
"My sister and I never left my mothers room and despite that, she died unnecessarily in a hospital in Buffalo." Converso added, "Somebody would say well Ann, you're a registered nurse. But, I'm not employed by that hospital, I can't look at the orders. I can't call up the doctor and tell the doctor to come in, I can't order lab values. So, even though I was a registered nurse sitting there with her for 7 days, she died anyway, and its horrible, its a sin, and no one should ever have to live like that."
Democratic candidate for New York's 23rd district, Tracy Mitrano also spoke at the rally, as well as, CWA President, Jake Lake.
"If anybody has anyone that has gone to the hospital, you see, the shortage and the care. There needs to be a ratio of nurses to patients for safety reasons. So we're trying to get that passed in the legislator," said Lake.
The "Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act" would set nurse-to-patient ratios across the state. As of now, the bipartisan coalition is currently supporting the proposed law in both the New York State Assembly and Senate, with hopes that it will pass soon
Lake also gave an update about bargaining the new service and maintenance contract at Arnot Ogden Hospital. Lake says they're currently in contract negation with the Hospital where they represent over 360 members in the service and maintenance industry. They have been bargaining since April and their contract expires on July 23rd. Lake is hopeful they can get to a fair contract by then.