On May 22, 2007 forty one Downstate PEF members boarded a bus in front of the Nurses residence to join Nurses from throughout NY State at a rally sponsored by 5 different Unions (PEF, NYSNA, NYSUT, CWA, and 1199/SEIU.)  After arriving in Albany we joined with hundreds of RNs calling on the Legislature to pass bills that would outlaw mandatory overtime and set safe staffing levels.  Speakers at the rally included the heads of each of the Unions (including PEF’s President Ken Brynien) and a number of politicians, each of whom spoke of their support of the Legislation.  State Senator Joseph Bruno, leader of the Senate, told the gathered crowd that just 1 day earlier the Mandatory Overtime Legislation had passed a Committee vote and would soon be put to a floor vote in the Senate.  He predicted that this important bill would pass in the State Senate within days.


Over 700 of the rally participants then went into the Convention Center for lunch and a panel discussion and question and answer session on “Nursing in Crisis.”  PEF’s Dee Dodson, the chair of PEF’s Statewide Nurses Committee, was a panel member and spoke on the status of “Mandatory Overtime Legislation in NY and Other States.”


The participants then broke into smaller groups and headed into the Legislative Office Building to meet with individual Legislators to talk about the bills and urge their support.  Unfortunately, the Legislature had decided to break early for the Memorial Day Holiday, and in many instances, the Senators and Assemblyman had already left, leaving participants to speak with their senior staff.   


At 4:00 the Downstate delegation then got on our bus for the ride home.  This turned into an adventure as the bus got a flat tire on the NY Thruway by Suffern, NY and we had to wait 2 hours to get the tire changed.  A weary group of travelers finally returned to Downstate around 9PM. 


Downstate (with just over 600 Nurses) again had more PEF Nurses attending Lobby day then any other State facility, including SUNY Stony Brook (1200 nurses) and SUNY Upstate Medical Center (1000 Nurses.)  Each of us wore our blue PEF/Downstate hats, helping to make our presence known to all.



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