Legislative Alert – June 17th, 2013

President’s Message

This session, we have fought together to protect collective bargaining benefits, to ensure fairness in the contracting and construction process, to protect public health care, to restore fairness to our educational testing procedures and on many other issues.

We have also stood together to develop sound and responsible job creation policies.  We have worked together to develop casino legislation and to encourage the Governor and Legislature to include appropriate labor standards and employee protections in economic development programs.

But, there is still much work to be done. We must continue the fight to improve the quality of health care and ensure that access to affordable care is available.  For example,   protecting  SUNY Downstate hospital and Long Island College Hospital as restructuring proposals are considered and implemented will not only help the people of  Brooklyn, but also ensure that public health care and public medical education, which expands access to care, are a part of our state’s future.

The Safe Patient Handling Act is also a vital part of our overall health care strategy.  This bill will improve the quality of care by protecting both patients and workers from injury and saving employers money.  It is time to pass this bill into law.

We also remain unified in the fight for dignity for all individuals, a cornerstone of the labor movement. Nowhere is this more evident than in our collective work to pass the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.  We must finally give the same legal rights to farmworkers that all other workers have, if we are to expect others to show us the same dignity.

As the legislative session comes to a close, let’s fight harder than ever to finish the job for New York’s hardworking families.

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action
Monday, June 17, 2013, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan St., Albany
Issue of the Week

A. 2180-B Gunther/S. 1123-B Maziarz

The Safe Patient Handling Act would facilitate education and training on proper lifting and patient maneuvering techniques, and the installation of equipment to assist staff in lifting and patient handling where appropriate. While facilities would be required to establish committees to implement this policy, they would be allowed the flexibility to do so as they determine best fits the needs of that setting. The statewide policy would be advisory in nature.

Improving patient care should be enough reason to enact this bill, considering inadequate training and equipment endangers the quality of health care and can lead to serious injuries to immobile patients.  But workers are also endangered by improper lifting combined with unsafe patient handling, which are the leading causes of workplace injury for direct care employees, nurses and other health care professionals.

The long term savings in Workers’ Compensation costs and reduced leave time due to injuries far outweigh the initial investments to implement a Safe Patient Handling Program. Facilities across the nation and the state that have piloted these policies have seen dramatic reduction in injury related costs as well as improved health care.  Quality health care and safe policies for patients and staff should not be optional, and the success of such programs warrant passage of this legislationinto law.