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CWAers Join Allies to Fight Healthcare Cuts in New York State

Freezing temperatures and fresh snow could not stop the thousands of activists, including CWA members, who took to the streets in cities across New York State last week. They mobilized to protest N.Y. Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget, which, according to activists, would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from healthcare spending and fail to adequately fund Medicaid, a program on which an estimated seven million low-income residents rely.

CWA represents about 15,000 healthcare workers across the state.

At City Hall in Buffalo, President of CWA Local 1168 and 37-year Registered Nurse Cori Gambini declared, “No one knows better the problems caused by underfunding. This is a crucial fight for health care justice. The State is not adequately funding hospitals, and there are not enough staff to take care of our patients. These people are not numbers on a page; they are our family, our friends, and members of our community.”

A rally and lobby day also took place last week in Albany, N.Y., for a day-long training on legislative lobbying where participants quickly became experts in how to speak with elected officials and what it takes to get new laws passed.

CWA members called on New York State legislators to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate in order to adequately fund hospitals, which are currently understaffed. “As an emergency room nurse, I've seen firsthand the critical importance of adequate staffing levels,” said Vanessa Quinn, a 39-year veteran Registered Nurse and member of CWA Local 1133. “We do our best day in and day out to provide the best, most compassionate care for every patient who walks through our doors. But chronic, long term understaffing has hit us hard and made it harder and harder with each passing year to deliver timely and effective care—the type of care that our patients deserve. With the proposed budget’s cuts, I’m worried for our future—and I know I’m not the only one. If these cuts outlined in the Governor’s budget are allowed to proceed unchecked, the consequences will be dire.”

Governor Hochul’s budget cuts come amidst an ongoing healthcare crisis. CWA District 1 healthcare workers earlier this month filed over 2500 safe staffing complaints with the N.Y. Department of Health.

New York State Healthcare 
CWA healthcare workers rallied in Albany, N.Y., for a lobby day to encourage law-makers to increase funding for Medicaid, adequately fund hospitals, and increase staffing to relieve the current understaffing crisis.