Tag Archives: New York State Nurses Association

Malcolm Smith back to work following bribery arrest

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Malcolm Smith

State Senator Malcolm Smith is back to work following his arrest earlier this month on corruption charges.

“We’re serving the people just as we usually do,” said a Smith spokesperson. “We’ve been helping them as we always have.”

On Tuesday, April 2, Smith was arrested along with Councilmember Dan Halloran for allegedly trying to rig the upcoming mayoral election. Despite the charges, Smith arrived in Albany two weeks later to continue his legislation.

In Albany, the embattled senator met with members of the New York State Nurses Association to discuss two bills affecting healthcare: the Safe Patient Handling Act, which would establish safe patient handling policies; and the Safe Staffing for Quality Care, which would set minimum staffing requirements for care facilities.

“These two pieces of legislation will not only makes nurses’ jobs a little easier, but will improve the quality of care for patients,” Smith said.

Back in Senatorial District 14, the spokesperson said that Smith’s staff remains intact and the community feedback has been positive following the scandal.

“They know the senator’s reputation for serving the community and helping people, so they have been very supportive,” said the rep.

As for the future, Smith will be making minimal public appearances, and the staff is “playing it by ear,” according to the spokesperson.

Smith also made a return to Twitter, tweeting that this week’s theme is “God Knows the Heart.”




Flushing nurses won’t strike

| mchan@queenscourier.com

A scheduled strike at Flushing Hospital was averted following the resuscitation of negotiations between management and the union.

“The leadership of Flushing Hospital Medical Center is pleased to announce that a tentative agreement was reached,” the hospital said in a statement.

According to management, a three-year agreement — which will extend through December 2014 — is expected to be ratified soon by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), which represents Flushing’s nurses.

The hospital’s 420 registered nurses had threatened to walk off the job on February 7 following fruitless pickets and disputes over “unfair” contract negotiations between hospital management.

Now, the crisis has been averted, much to the relief of local elected officials.

“Nurses have a tough enough job. They should not have to worry about their day-to-day health and pension benefits,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “Now they can go back to work and have some peace of mind, which is a win not only for the nurses and management, but also the entire community that relies on the care and health services of Flushing Hospital every day.”

According to Mark Genovese, a NYSNA spokesperson, the union has been negotiating a new contract with hospital management to improve working conditions, including a “fair salary increase” since contracts expired on December 31. Although health benefits continue 90 days after expiration, Genovese said pension plans ended for good on January 1.

Among many things, Genovese said part of what incensed the union prior to the tentative agreement was hospital management’s plans to have registered nurses pay more for their health insurance, which he said would total about an additional $4,800 per year.

He also said they are demanding givebacks in pension plans, essentially dropping the nurses to a lower level of health care in which “the benefits would be less and the costs would be more.” Genovese said the nurses would lose out on about $150,000 in lost retirement income over a lifetime.

Further details on the newest agreement will not be available until after the ratification vote, hospital management said.