The Registered Nurses at Lenox Hill Hospital were first organized into a union in 1980 by Local 1199, the Health Care Workers Union. By 1984 a number of the staff nurses were disillusioned with the representation provided by Local 1199. They considered affiliating with other unions, but ultimately decided that the best union for Lenox Hill staff nurses would be one devoted exclusively to representing them. A union for nurses, run by nurses. Thus, the New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU) was born.
NYPNU won a majority of the votes cast and the NLRB certified the union as the exclusive bargaining agent for staff nurses in early 1985. Over the years, we have expanded our bargaining unit to include the nurses at Manhattan Eye, Ear, Throat Hospital (MEETH), as well as Case Managers, Nurse Practitioners, Lactation Specialists, and Per-Diems. NYPNU’s successful history includes being the first nurses’ union in the United States to include specific nurse-patient ratios in the collective bargaining agreement that the hospital must adhere to. We also achieved clear and concise language prohibiting mandatory overtime.
We are also proud to have affiliated with the Northeast Nurses Association (NENA) in 2012. The Northeast Nurses Association represents over 30,000 RNs in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York and we are committed to growing that number. As healthcare professionals who recognize the need to achieve a more powerful and distinctive voice in the workplace to protect our professional practice and provide the highest quality care for our patients. NENA support these efforts by educating and mobilizing those interested in forming a union at their place of work.
Our tradition of advocacy continues with our work towards getting safe nurse-patient ratios into New York law to benefit the nursing profession and patient care, fighting for safer working conditions for nurses, and advocating for student loan forgiveness to unburden the next generation of nurses.