by INDYKIDS STAFF
1. What do you do?
I organize nurses into a union, and we build power in the workplace. New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) which represents 40,000 members.
2. What is organizing?
Organizing, basically, is workers talking to workers for issues at work that affect them. They try to fix issues at their workplace.
3. What are the conditions of the people you advocate for?
I organize nurses throughout the hospitals in NYC. Most of the people I organize are women and/or people of color, for example, Filipina and Caribean [women]. The nurses are often responsible for more patients than they can handle. We make sure nurses are safe at work and that the patients get the quality of care and one-to-one attention that they deserve.
4. What are their chief complaints?
They work in unsafe environments. They work around chemicals that are dangerous to their health. Nurses in the emergency room sometimes experience physical harm. They don’t have the protection they need from their bosses to be safe. Hospitals nowadays are often privately run and for-profit, and the companies (equity firms) that buy hospitals fire workers, engage in anti-union attacks, and try to intimidate workers. Women are not taken seriously. Most managers are men and don’t treat them with respect.
5. What does the NYS Nurses Association (a union) do to improve the workers’ lives?
We understand that strength in numbers makes the bosses take workers’ complaints seriously and that the quality of patients’ healthcare come before profits.
6. What made you want to organize nurses?
I had a traumatic brain injury as a child, and my brother had cancer as a baby. I realized that I wanted to take care of healthcare workers as my career.
7. What advice would you have for young people?
Never give up. Continue to fight. You’re going to win.