OPED “We Are Not Victims“


Valerie nothing could make us prouder than to publish your article. NYSNAiseeyou is responsible for formatting. We agree with Valerie. It is time to take our union back!

I asked NYSNAISEEYOU to publish this for me because as members we have no other way of communicating with each other, on an ongoing basis. Considering we are called a union, I think it is intentional, counterproductive to our nursing goals, and paternalistic.

I am a MICU nurse at Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan. Like you, I am just coming down from the toughest few months in my nursing career. It is also a time that I am incredibly proud of to be a nurse and I am sure you may be too. 

Some of you may know me from the delegate convention this past Fall. I along with many other convention delegates led a fight to take back our union from a corrupt and out of touch union leadership. My feelings have not changed since then. If anything, my conviction has grown and become affirmed due to my experiences these past few months.

Some of you may have noticed the same few people going from hospital to hospital telling the press we, as nurses, were being martyred. Sacrificed. I didn’t feel like a martyr because I made sure NYSNA nurses had a seat at the table where decisions were being made on resources and practice. I will never be a victim.

Martyr and victimization was the adopted NYSNA strategy; but they wouldn’t say it out loud in an eblast. The leadership never said we should go demonstrate at the height of the pandemic,
Yet some rallying nurses were advocating publicly to refuse care and to have walk outs during the height of the pandemic. This is amateurish at best and destructive at worst. Destructive to the well-deserved reputation, we nurses have earned over the years as first responders and patient advocates.

They just used their cohort to demean and belittle the rest of us who were trying to protect nurses and save lives because we weren’t looking for our fifteen minutes of fame. In fact, judging from the amount of press they seeked, you would think Judy’s cohort were the only members of NYSNA and the only people working under horrific conditions This is not how responsible nursing leadership acts. This is not something Jill would have ever done or encouraged.

For the first two weeks we didn’t see or hear a word from NYSNA. It was only after NYSNAISEEYOU published their “Where’s Waldo” article that we received our first email that mentioned the pandemic.

Pat Kane argued on a conference call that ALL ED nurses didn’t need N95s.

WTH?! Judy announced on CNN that she couldn’t work bedside during the pandemic because she was “too busy doing President stuff”. What does that even mean?

During the most difficult time of our careers, NYSNA leadership was busy throwing us under the bus and attempting to turn nurses into victims. Oppose to supporting our efforts by giving us the recognition of the risks that we were taking, willingly. While other healthcare unions worked with local government and employers to source desperately needed PPE, what did NYSNA leadership do? They whined and filed losing lawsuits. The judge threw out the Montefiore lawsuit concluding that,  “…given the measures that Montefiore has been taking, under extraordinary circumstances, to protect its staff and provide patient care,” it would dismiss NYSNA’s lawsuit and allow Montefiore to return its focus 100% to saving lives.

Am I the only one who finds this embarrassing? In open court, NYSNA was told that the lawsuit was a distraction from patient care during a PANDEMIC. Our union that was supposed to be representing our best interests as bedside nurses became a barrier to our work.

Nurses came out of retirement and travelled from around the country to help us in NY. There were nurses who volunteered and others who worked full time for free. Some of these volunteers got sick and died. We need to honor our nurses and their sacrifices, not demean them.

For these and a thousand more reasons I am inviting all NYSNA members that want a new and more professional union leadership to join our Facebook group, New York Nurses for Unity & Progress at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NYNUP/ .

Together we can take back our union, dignity, and our reputations.


Published by muckraker

We are a group of NYSNA Nurses who care about the future of our union. We want democracy, transparency, and accountability. Some of us are retired, some are recent members, and we are at all points in between. Any information you provide us will remain anonymous unless authorized by you.

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