The following email was sent on May 7 from UFT Vice President for Non-DOE Members Anne Goldman.
On Tuesday, after decades of advocacy, the New York State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1168A and Senate Bill 6346, which require hospitals and nursing homes to establish and follow minimum staffing requirements. This legislation now awaits Gov. Cuomo’s signature before becoming law.
The passage of these bills is a direct result of the UFT's lobbying efforts. We look forward to using them as a framework in our continuing advocacy to achieve appropriate staffing for every patient.
In supporting these bills, state lawmakers have finally recognized what we've known and have been telling them for years: Quality care and best patient outcomes depend on appropriate staffing. I simply cannot express the impact COVID-19 has had on both our working conditions and our lives. However, the importance of nurses and the care we provide has never been more evident. I am gratified and relieved that we have achieved this milestone at long last.
These bills require hospitals and nursing homes to establish staffing requirements and mandatethat they make these plans public. It is significant that these bills allow for people to report violations to the Department of Health and make hospitals that fail to meet staffing requirements subject to monetary penalties.
These bills will not undermine our current agreements; rather, they will strengthen them because they will now be backed by the force of law. We must continue to enforce our collective bargaining agreements throughout the implementation of these bills.
Together, backed by our contracts and this law, we will continue to hold hospitals accountable for failing to adhere to established ratios. As nurses, we don’t simply care for our patients, we advocate for them.