August 31, 2022


Contact: Mindy Berman | 518-229-0486

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This mobile billboard will be traveling throughout the region on Wednesday, Sept 1

On September 1, Caregivers and Community Leaders To Rally in Hudson As The Holiday Weekend Approaches, Will Columbia Memorial Hospital Have Enough Staff?

7th Street Park, Hudson Wed.,
September 1***Rally from 2pm to 4pm***Press Avail at 2:45pm

Interviews & photo ops can be scheduled before, during & after the event

Who: 1199SEIU members at Columbia Memorial Hospital, Labor and Community Leaders, Elected Leaders Expected: Congressman-elect Pat Ryan, US Senator Gillibrand (representative), Senator Michelle Hinchey, Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson, Hudson Common Council President, Tom Depietro, Columbia County Supervisors Linda Mussmann and Michael Chameides

Background: It’s no longer a secret that Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson is experiencing a severe staff shortage. The most recent documents indicate that there are more than 350 open positions at the hospital and its offsites. The healthcare workers and many community leaders (including United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand) have been telling an indifferent administration about long waits in the emergency room, lab, and throughout every department. It’s not unusual for patients to leave and seek care elsewhere. In addition, exhausted staff, who are paid below-market wages, are working around the clock. Fatigue and stress among workers in every department is prevalent. The consequences are that qualified caregivers, professionals, and service workers, have all been leaving their jobs, and a short-staffing situation has become a crisis.

As the only hospital between Kingston and Albany, Columbia Memorial Health staff serves more than 100,000 residents in a healthcare desert spanning Columbia, Greene, and Dutchess Counties. The entire community is feeling the impact of hospital leaders who are driving workers from the bedside by providing inadequate wages and failing to implement appropriate recruitment/retention policies and practices.

Before the hospital started hiring temporary, out-of-state staff (Texas and Missouri for instance,) the workers at CMH hailed from our region. Many were born at the hospital, as were their parents and children. Those who remain are not only hospital and clinic staff; they are Hudson family friends, and neighbors. Their children attend schools in the community. They are the everyday people in the supermarkets, the farmers' markets, and religious services. They say that there are days where they do not recognize any one on the hospital floors. They are asking what kind of investment can temporary workers make in the community’s health, when they are gone in three weeks?

“The workers who are pleading with the CMH administration to fix the situation deserve to be respected and heard, for the sake of quality patient care and to maintain the hospital's legacy as a trusted community health care provider and partner,” said Greg Speller, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU.

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 450,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. 1199seiu.org