ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For more than two years, the New York State Nurses Association has been asking Albany Med officials to negotiate a contract. NYSNA members continue to rally on Saturday in front of Albany Med. They are demonstrating for better wages, benefits, and protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lenore Granich-Berghela is a nurse at Albany Med. Berghela says throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been enough personal protective equipment like N95 respirators and surgical masks for staff. “AMC is not and has not listened to us. COVID-19 is back with a vengeance and our staffing is at critical mass, PPE – especially N95s are being reused multiple times and now our staff members are becoming infected. These conditions put us and our patients at risk,” she said.
Between contract dispute and PPE concerns, the nurses aren’t standing alone. Local elected officials have spoken out during the rally on Saturday. “Move forward to a contract so that the people of Albany can be best served in this hospital,” says Assemblymember Phil Steck. Doug Bullock from Albany Central Federation of Labor says change needs to be done for nurses to feel safe at work. “If Albany Med is holding back giving these nurses these N95 masks, then shame on Albany Med,” says Bullock.
Albany Med released this statement after Saturday’s rally:
NYSNA’s claims are growing more preposterous as their strike approaches. There were no outstanding issues with respect to PPE during contract negotiations. Albany Med follows all federal and state guidance for PPE, and our supply of PPE is adequate. Our focus remains the safety of all our patients and colleagues. Despite NYSNA’s baseless accusations, Albany Med will continue its mission of patient care, research and education. Albany Med is a place of healing, and as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, we know our community needs us now more than ever. Because of that sacred trust, we will not abandon our mission.Albany Medical Center
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, NYSNA members plan to strike outside of Albany Med for 24 hours. “Every single nurse in this institution voted to strike to save our community, to save our patients and to save each other,” says Berghela.
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