Emily De Vito
Updated: June 06, 2019 11:14 PM
Created: June 06, 2019 10:42 PM
ALBANY – Nurses at Albany Medical Center came together Thursday to gather community support as they continue contract negotiations with the hospital.
Around 2,000 nurses at Albany Med unionized last April and they’ve been working on creating their first contract since August.
“It's very important the community knows that yes, you come here for your care but you know we as nurses within the union we would like to have your support,” said Albany Medical Center Nurse Chris Lee at an event at Washington Park.
Lee said there are many priorities they want to see in the contract and that includes safe staffing so patients get the attention they deserve. He also said they need to work on retaining nurses.
“In addition we need to be able to recruit the best and we need to provide the best compensations,” said Lee. “Best packages to make sure we are retaining and obtaining the best nurses in this community.”
As nurses work on their contract, they have given inspiration to other workers at Albany Medical Center to unionize.
“If one union can get in here, I think others can as well,” said Phillip Hughes.
Hughes is a material coordinator at the hospital. No matter what floor he is working on at Albany Med, he makes sure staff has the proper supplies they need. Hughes, along with more than 1,000 other workers which includes lab techs and patient care associates, want to join a union called 1199 SEIU.
"It gives us a voice, we actually can say something,” said Hughes.
Hughes said him and other workers are just trying to raise awareness on the union right now. He said in the future there would need to be a vote on it. He said it can help workers in many ways, including with benefits and better wages.
"I truly want to stay at Albany Med, I truly love working at Albany Med,” explained Hughes. “But it hurts when you have 60 cents in your bank account and you have to stretch that for a week. That's not a pleasant experience."
NewsChannel 13 did reach out to Albany Medical Center for a comment regarding contract negotiations as well as other workers wanting to unionize. They said they have no comment.
Copyright 2019 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company