Governor Cuomo: "I Am Proud to Stand with the Men and Women in Our Hospitals and Support Safe Staffing Levels that Ensure the Highest Quality of Care"
"Healthcare Is a Critical Priority and this Administration Will Do Everything We Can to Protect Medicaid State Funding and Quality Patient Care"
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the New York State Department of Labor to issue a notice to hospitals to support safe staffing and continued organizing, following allegations of threatening and coercive behavior at Albany Medical Center ahead of a vote by registered nurses there to join the New York State Nurses Association. The notice reminds hospitals that there are laws, both state and federal, and regulations governing union organizing efforts and that hospitals that illegally try to prevent or dissuade personnel from unionizing will be held accountable.
"New York is a union state, and we have zero tolerance for any attempts to illegally interfere in the fundamental right to join a union," Governor Cuomo said. "At a time when organized labor is under attack, New York is stepping up for our union brothers and sisters and those seeking to organize—especially the nurses who serve our sick and elderly at hospitals across the state. Healthcare is a critical priority, and this administration will do everything we can to protect Medicaid State funding and quality patient care. I am proud to stand with the men and women in our hospitals and support safe staffing levels that ensure the highest quality of care."
Health care plays a significant role in New York's economy, representing roughly one in seven jobs in the state. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York has worked hard to protect Medicaid state funding, ensure quality patient care and support safe staffing policies for our hospitals. The Governor championed the successful fight to oppose the federal health care bill repealing the Affordable Care Act last year, which would have cut billions of dollars in funding for New York hospitals and cost thousands of jobs. In 2011, Governor Cuomo created the Medicaid Redesign Team, which generated savings that led to an $8 billion reinvestment of federal money for New York's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program.
On March 29, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Labor to launch an immediate investigation into the allegations of threatening and coercive behavior at Albany Med, and the investigation is ongoing. Early Saturday morning, the registered nurses at Albany Med voted to join the New York State Nurses Association.
The notice to hospitals builds on Governor Cuomo's ongoing efforts to strengthen the voice of working men and women and increase opportunities for New York's middle-class. Since 2011, the Governor has championed efforts to support working New Yorkers, including combatting the exploitation of workers, supporting project labor agreements, and allowing full union dues to be deducted from state taxes. Most recently, the Governor announced earlier this month that stolen wages totaling more than $35 million from 2017 alone were recovered and returned to more than 36,000 victims.
On Thursday, Governor Cuomo signed landmark legislation to further strengthen the rights of working men and women in New York State. This new law increases access to and protects union membership in New York's public-sector workplaces in anticipation of an adverse ruling in the pending Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. Additionally, the law provides safeguards against the deliberate actions taken by the federal government that continue to undermine the efforts of organized labor across this country.