Nurses charge Brooklyn Hospital with unfair labor practice
New York State Nurses Association
Brooklyn, NYC - Jan. 16, 2003 - The union representing registered nurses at Brooklyn Hospital has charged the facility's administrators with unfair labor practice.
With the recent closure of most units of the hospital's Caledonian Campus, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) is seeking to protect patients from possible harm and the 90 RNs from losing their jobs.
Many of the nurses have been temporarily assigned to the hospital's downtown campus, and are being utilized as a float team. Some are also being assigned to units outside of their clinical expertise, which could pose a threat to patient safety.
The union is seeking current and accurate information related to RN vacancies and seniority - information it will use in negotiating staffing conditions while the restructuring takes place and to ensure the RNs receive all the protections they are entitled to under their contract. NYSNA is highly cynical of the way management has implemented the closure of the facility-suddenly padlocking the doors without legal notice to the state or the community.
Last month, Caledonian was working beyond
full patient capacity and RN staffing was stretched to the limit. Such high use confirms the community's need for the services at the campus. Yet admissions to Caledonian have sharply declined over a short period. This leads the union to believe that hospital administration is deliberately reducing the census because it wants to shut down the facility as a means of closing a $17 million budget gap. The union has made four requests for this information in less than a month.
The hospital is required under federal labor law to provide this information. So far, the hospital has not complied. NYSNA filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board office in Brooklyn on Jan. 15.
"To say there isn't a need for full-time care in this community is blatantly untrue," said Roberta Murphy, NYSNA nursing representative. "The people of this community, and the nurses who have worked so hard for many years to provide them care, deserve better."
NYSNA is the professional association for registered nurses in New York with more than 34,000 members statewide. A multipurpose organization, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity and collective bargaining. NYSNA is a constituent of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and its labor arm, the United American Nurses (UAN), which is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
Soooooo... the nurses blew the whistle on the hospital corporation. And last week's news headlines suddenly announced:
POLITICIANS WANT STATE PROBE INTO HOSPITAL FINANCES
New York Daily News; New York, N.Y.; Jan 20, 2003
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz asks "What was the State Department of Health doing? What responsibility did the hospital's trustees have?".......
WORRIED SICK OVER HOSPITAL State may probe $43M debt
New York Daily News; New York, N.Y.; Jan 21, 2003;
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was urged to examine Brooklyn Hospital Center's budget by Congressman Major Owens, City Councilwoman Yvette Clark, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Carl Andrews and Assemblyman James Brennan......
STATE SCOLDS AILING HOSPITAL Unannounced check finds ER signs off or taped over
New York Daily News; New York, N.Y.; Jan 23, 2003
"Lights illuminating the outdoor emergency sign were turned off. Other signs indicating where the emergency room was were taped over. This type of behavior is very troubling," said state Department of Health spokesman Bill Van Slyke......
With approval from the Department of Health, Caledonian's in- patients were transferred to the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene last month......
Congressman Major Owens said Brooklyn Hospital Center was trying to make it appear that Caledonian was the source of its financial problems...
Look what a bunch of community hospital nurses and their union uncovered. This scandal is not over. How many executives went to jail in that Enron thing anyway? They may be getting company.