By Isseu Diouf Campbell
A group of nurses gathered in front of Harlem Hospital’s pavilion building located on Lenox Avenue between 136th and 137th street on May 28, 2019 to protest for better working conditions and a safe registered nurse staffing.
Among them, Kittie McGee, president of the labor bargaining unit for New York State Nurses Association and registered nurse for 43 years says that the crisis has been going on for years and is just getting worse.
“Unsafe staffing does not save lives and we want to save lives”, McGee said. “Whatever our patients need we will stay and we will do it, but it is not right to overwork people.”
The Public Employees Fair Employment Act also known as the Taylor Law forbid strikes made punishable with fines and jail time so the group comes out twice a day to protest in the hope to get their voices heard.
The answer according to McGee would be for the New York State Nurses Association and Harlem Hospital management to work better together and for their contract signed in 2010 with mayor Bloomberg and ending on June 5, 2019 to be honored.
The 74-year old nurse also blame the countless nurses who come to Harlem Hospital to get experience but leave for the additional $20,000 they get in the private sector.