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Albany Med nurses rally, threaten to strike

Sep 08, 2020 1:00 pm
Amanda Fries is reporting for the Times Union more than 100 nurses employed by Albany Medical Center gathered on Labor Day to press hospital officials to settle their contract, arguing that management has reduced their hours, cut personal time-off and frozen their annual wage increases. “They called us heroes during the COVID pandemic, but then treated us like zeroes,” said Jennifer Bejo, an Intensive Care Unit nurse at Albany Med for 14 years. “Union nurses want safe staffing improvements, raise increases, affordable health insurance and better health and safety measures. Most importantly, they want respect.” The essential employees worked through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, but efforts to settle their contract have been unsuccessful. The workers recently voted to strike within 10 days if hospital leadership does not meet them at the table. More than 100 people clad in red shirts and face masks gathered outside Albany Med on Labor Day calling on the hospital’s leadership to negotiate and settle a fair agreement. Local, state and federal lawmakers, as well as members of other Capital District labor unions, showed up to support the nurses at the rally organized by the New York State Nurses Association. Albany Med communications Director Matt Markham said the hospital continues to negotiate in good faith with the nurses association, noting the facility has not laid off or furloughed any staff despite operating on a nearly $26 million operating loss. Read the full story in the Times Union.