Hospital CEO must listen to concerns

I am writing this on behalf of the registered nurses at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville.

I am a retired registered nurse who worked for 42 years at NLH. We joined the New York State Nurses Association as our representing union many years ago, and I, myself, was on the negotiating committee for several years.

In the past, we always had successful and fair bargaining of our contracts. The hospital gave some, we gave some, but always had resolutions to the concerns of both sides.

Having been employed for so many years, working 12-hour shifts, I understand the present concerns, and desire for safer staffing needs.

When nurses receive their daily assignments, what seems like adequate staffing can change in an instant. All it takes is a patient to have a critical change in status that involves spending extra time dealing with the change.

I have worked many 12-hour shifts, on my feet for the entire 12 hours, with no meal or bathroom break, and then be mandated to stay an extra four hours, due to shortness in staff, only to return the next day for another 12 hours. Better staffing and more staff may have alleviated that.

The registered nurses want the assurance of a steady work schedule without being told to stay home without pay, an affordable health care plan, and assurance of a pension plan. These items are things we bargained for in the past and do not want them now taken away.

I am asking the public to encourage the administrators of the hospital to consider the faithful registered nurses in encouraging fair bargaining to settle the contract.

The claim recently that registered nurses at the hospital with 10 years of experience earn $90,000 a year is incorrect; and the statement “Just another Wednesday” doesn’t sound to me like a desire to settle this.

We are a small-knit community and we need our local hospital to retain present union RN staff.

Please encourage Littauer CEO Larry Kelly to listen to their legitimate concerns – they are the ones providing hands-on patient care.

JUDITH ALTER-SCHUH

Gloversville