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NYSNA nurses & 1199SEIU healthcare workers have been working short-staffed for more than a year

*Historic Mid-Hudson Bridge Will Display Red and Purple Lights, Signifying the Respective Union Colors of

NYSNA and 1199 Staff at the Hospital*

WHEN: Wednesday, May 11 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

WHAT: Rally at Stitzel Field @ Eastman Park, live music, “healthcare worker theater,” testimonials, and more

March from Jefferson St. toward the Mid-Hudson Bridge, with red and purple lights

WHO: NYSNA registered nurses, 1199SEIU healthcare workers, religious and elected leaders, patient advocates, labor allies and community supporters

WHERE: Stitzel Field @ Eastman Park, Lincoln Avenue, Poughkeepsie

Background: Vassar Brothers Medical Center has grown and expanded services. In turn, the inpatient census has increased. However, the number of staff to provide care and services has not kept pace with the census, potentially putting quality care at risk. In the past 12 months, RNs and Patient Care Technicians have documented twice as many unsafe staffing situations than reported one year before. NYSNA nurses and 1199 professional and technical workers, caregivers and support staff have been constantly doing more with less, working extra shifts and on occasion being mandated to work beyond scheduled hours. They face these challenges every day as they strive to provide high quality patient care and services. Now, adding insult to injury, management is proposing a policy that would punish staff if they need to take sick days to recuperate from a cold or flu (or other illness.)

Thea Gallagher, RN, NYSNA member: “Our job as caregivers is to provide quality care to our patients. To do this, we need to be healthy, and have enough staff to care for patients safely. The purpose of this rally is to advocate for our patients, and bring attention to the punitive practices which affect the staff of VBMC and ultimately the community we serve”.

Kadien Ashman, food services worker for 17 years, 1199SEIU member: “How does this new policy help the short-staffing situation, which is the real problem? It doesn’t help and it’s unfair because if you or your child get sick, you can’t take sick time because of fear you will be disciplined or even lose your job. My daughter Saanie is 10-years-old, she was sick at school and the nurse wanted to send her home. She told the nurse she couldn’t go home because her momma would lose her job. That was heart-breaking. And it doesn’t fix a thing.”

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 37,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit our website at

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 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. For more information:

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