By BOB HENNELLY
Two days after the State Legislature adjourned without acting on a bill to require nurse-staffing minimums in state hospitals and nursing homes, Governor Cuomo June 22 pledged his support for such standards and said he would have state Department of Labor officials ensure that nurses were not improperly burdened.
Less than six weeks earlier, the New York State Nurses Association, the prime champion of the stalled legislation, had endorsed his re-election, putting yet another left-leaning union in his corner even as Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon seeks to make the case that Mr. Cuomo is not a true progressive.
Three Local 459 nurses have been honored by the Lansing State Journal in its annual Salute to Nurses, recognizing their exceptional contributions to the nursing profession with a special newspaper insert and awards luncheon.
The awards were presented May 9, during the annual Nurses Week. Kyra Keusch, an RN in the intensive care unit at McLaren Greater Lansing, received the 2018 Nurses in Service to Our Country Award for her recent volunteer work in Puerto Rico. Keusch was the first Local 459 nurse to answer the call when OPEIU asked for volunteers to go to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. She took vacation time to travel with 300 union brothers and sisters to assist with disaster relief. Keusch is very active, volunteering almost every time Local 459 asks for help. She serves as a union steward for her unit and is also recording secretary on the Local 459 executive board.
Lisa Campbell, a float nurse at McLaren Greater Lansing, was awarded the 2018 Clinical Practice Award. Campbell is incredibly enthusiastic about her nursing career, even after 21 years in the field. She is chairperson of the hospital’s Professional Practice Committee, serves as a union steward and finds time to volunteer for the Nurses Honor Guard (to learn more about the OPEIU Nurses Honor Guard, visitopeiunursescouncil.org).
Jessica Newton, RN, works nights on a medical surgical floor at McLaren and received the 2018 Rising Stars Award. She understands the way to make changes in her profession is to become involved, so Newton volunteers for the Professional Practice Committee and is the chairperson of her unit council.
“We are so proud of our hardworking Local 459 nurses,” said Sharon Taylor, International vice president and Local 459 president. “It’s wonderful to see them recognized by their peers and the Greater Lansing community. We congratulate them all.”
Local 459 registered nurses, from left, Kyra Keusch, Lisa Campbell and Jessica Newton.
OPEIU Nurses Council Vice Chair and Local 459 McLaren Greater Lansing Chief Steward Julie Murray, RN, right, and Recording Secretary Kyra Keusch, RN, travel to Washington to attend the Nurses Take DC Rally April 28. Held annually, the rally draws nursing professionals from throughout the country to the nation’s capital to bring attention to important issues facing healthcare, such as nurse staffing shortages and violence against healthcare workers. Murray was also an invited speaker at the event.
By Mark Gruenberg PAI Staff Writer
MT. CLEMENS, Mich. (PAI)—If you’re a registered nurse and your union contract with two hospitals includes safe-staffing ratios, what do you do if the hospitals break those pact provisions?
The answer from Office and Professional Employees Local 40, which represents 1,000 nurses at two hospitals in the upscale Detroit suburb of Mount Clemens, Mich., is you hammer at the issue in bargaining sessions, file labor law-breaking complaints with the National Labor Relations Board – and raise hell in public.
Which is what the local did, convening a Town Hall meeting in Mount Clemens on the evening of April 19 to tell the community what’s going on, and take questions, Local President Jeff Morawski said in a pre-meeting telephone interview.
Safe staffing is a nationwide problem, as insurers lean on hospitals to cut costs by cutting down the number of nurses available per shift. The firms’ tactic is to deny reimbursements for claims, arguing they’re paying too much for too many people. One result is doctors’ short visits with patients.
After long, difficult negotiations marked with hospital proposals for significant concessions,
Local 459 secured a new contract that maintains healthcare for registered nurses at McLaren
Greater Lansing (MGL).