A team of nurses determined to unionize whether the government is open or not. After changes to patient care, registered nurses at Bellevue Woman's Center are looking to unionize. But as our Erin Connolly explains, that's becoming more difficult thanks to the government shutdown.
ALBANY, N.Y. --Registered nurses from Bellevue Woman's Center trying to unionize are the latest victims of the government shutdown. On Friday, some of those nurses made their way to the federal building in Albany to request a union representation election from the National Labor Relations Board, but the office was closed.
Paula Platt, a Bellevue Woman's Center nurse, said, "It is disappointing because we want to move forward. We have the signatures. We have the cards in hand. We're ready to turn them in and get this vote done."
More than 100 nurses at Bellevue have rallied together to join the New York State Nurses Association, the state's largest union for nurses. This comes after Ellis Medicine recently implemented a new model of care known as mother-baby, meaning just one nurse would care for both child and mother after birth.
Christine McCann, a Bellevue Woman's Center nurse, said, "The reason we're seeking rep from NYSNA is to not only keep the standard of patient care that we have right now, it's for security and our benefits and security in our salary and mainly it's for respect."
We reached out to officials at Ellis Medicine, which runs Bellevue. They declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did release the following statement that said, "Our President and CEO Jim Connolly has met with the staff at Bellevue and is involved in ongoing discussions to listen to their concerns. Ellis Medicine has and always will be committed to working together with the nurses at Bellevue as our shared priority is delivering the highest quality of care to mothers and their babies."
Nurses say Connolly told them he will recognize the union if there's an election. In the wake of the shutdown, they're now pursuing other options like a secret ballot election.
Platt said, "We're more united than ever to get this done."