ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Medical Center nurses who are members of the New York State Nurses Association will picket on Wednesday in response to what they say are unsafe staffing levels.
Last year Albany Med nurses voted to unionize. They wanted fair wages, a good retirement plan, a better benefits package, and they wanted their voices heard in regards to staffing.
“We have over 200 vacant positions in the facility. We had two new units open up, that there was no staffing earmarked for,” Lenore Granich, a nurse at Albany Med told News10, “so they’ve been pulling nurses from other units to staff those two units.”
Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the hospital telling News10 that the hospital staffs according to national standards.
“We staff based on the quality of care that is needed by the patient, and the safety of our patients, and the safety of our employees,” Gordon told News10.
Lenore Granich has been a nurse at Albany Med for 14 years, but says nurses aren’t sticking around that long anymore because the benefits and wages aren’t good enough.
“We’re here because we love this, but we’re also leaving the bedside in droves because most of the nurses are the main breadwinners of their household,” Granich told News10.
Gordon says the hospital continues to work on providing a good benefits package, but that they can’t agree to one that is so costly, it impairs their ability to provide adequate care for patients.
“I don’t know what the right answer is,” Granich said, “I just feel that Albany Med should listen to us.”
Gordon wants people to be aware that it will be “business as usual” at the hospital on Wednesday, and patient care will not be affected by the picket.