Albany Med nurses rally again for a fair contract

WNYT Staff
Updated: November 25, 2020 09:05 PM
Created: November 25, 2020 02:14 PM

ALBANY - Nurses at Albany Medical Center are speaking out again.

They're demanding what they say is a fair contract that puts patient care and safety first. 

This comes less than a week before the nurses' strike, planned for December 1.

"The hospital and our state diminished the standards of safety putting us all at risk. We are expendable in their eyes.," said Tanya, a nurse who works with COVID-19 patients.

While speaking last week, Albany Med President and CEO Dennis McKenna said during the pandemic, when the community needed them the most, they were at their best.

McKenna also said that it is totally irresponsible to call for a strike in the middle of a pandemic.

However, the New York State Nurses Association says working conditions are unsafe at Albany Med. On Wednesday they sent the following concerns to NewsChannel 13:

  1. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls for masks to be re-used only if there is NOT a 90 day supply of equipment. The state says all hospitals have a 90 day supply. Albany Medical Center says it has a 90 day supply. The question is: why are hospital executives forcing nurses to re-use masks up to 20 times on many different people? 
  2. Albany Medical Center must stop moving patients from floor to floor without getting the results of a COVID test back. We must make sure that the virus is not spreading from floor to floor, unit to unit. Why is Albany Medical Center mixing patient populations in a way that could easily spread the virus?
  3. Albany Medical Center created a nurse to patient crisis staffing ratio that they are now actively violating. It was essential in the spring for proper patient care and it remains essential for the fall surge. 

NYSNA says they have filed two complaints with the National Labor Relations Board concerning Albany Med. NYSNA says the hospital has been illegally encouraging nurses to quit the union.

Albany Med released the following statement to NewsChannel 13 in response:

"Albany Med never encouraged any nurses to leave the union. Because our nurses deserve the facts, we have published information about the choice of union membership, and that is perfectly legal."

NYSNA says their second complaint pertains to Albany Med refusing to release an employee member of the union's bargaining committee for future negotiations because of the strike notice scheduled for December 1.


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