SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new day, a new governor, and possibly new hope for St. Clare’s pensioners who say they’re running out of time.
“I’m not asking for everything, but I have people that are dying,” says Mary Hartshorne, a former St. Clare’s Hospital employee who now chairs the St. Clare’s Pensioners Recovery Alliance. “We can’t keep waiting. We can’t keep being pushed aside. We are not going to survive.”
These current and former frontline healthcare workers still need $54 million to make up for what they lost when the St. Clare’s Hospital pension suddenly ran out in 2018. Mary Hartshorne says she, Senator Jim Tedisco, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara just sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul asking for five minutes of her time.
“It won’t take me longer than that to point out what our problems are and what we need,” Hartshorne says. “I know she’s got a lot of other things on her plate, and I know this is a whole new world to her. Probably a lot of other people are there asking for something from her. All I want is five minutes and from her just the promise that she will truly look into it.”
“I would think together collectively, I think they could find the money in the couches, in the chairs in Washington, D.C. after $2 trillion in stimulus, billions of dollars for hundreds of other pension systems, they could fund these 1,100 healthcare workers,” Tedisco says to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Hartshorne says she hopes this time to avoid devastation like what she felt when former Governor Cuomo ignored the pensioners’ many letters and phone calls.
“The way Governor Cuomo said he didn’t know even know who we were, that was horrible,” she recalls.
“This was the height of a distortion of the truth. He knew exactly what they were all about. He wouldn’t give them five minutes,” Tedisco adds.
“As you know, transparency wasn’t his forte. We’ve got a new governor, we are excited about that. We’ve got a new governor who says she values being transparent above and beyond. Well, we hope she can walk the walk and talk the talk to be an advocate for these pensioners who really had the rug pulled out from under them,” he goes on to say.
Still, many pensioners stepped up to Cuomo’s call to help fight the pandemic. Now, even after losing their homes, some of their lives to old age and sickness, those left just hope for a little appreciation.
“I don’t understand people who helped the community the way we did being treated like we’re somewhere down here. I just have nothing else to lose, so I’m never going to give up on this,” Hartshorne says.
A representative for Governor Hochul’s office says she has not yet gotten a chance to review the letter and she will respond when she does.
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