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'Exhausted, Stressed': Hudson Valley Healthcare Workers To March For Better Conditions

Putnam Hospital is one of the two Hudson Valley hospitals owned by Nuvance Health where workers say better conditions are needed.
Putnam Hospital is one of the two Hudson Valley hospitals owned by Nuvance Health where workers say better conditions are needed. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A group of Hudson Valley healthcare workers is asking for better conditions and the opportunity to negotiate a contract. 

As part of their effort to improve circumstances at hospitals in both Dutchess and Putnam counties, a "Dignity March" will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Poughkeepsie starting at Vassar Brothers Hospital at 45 Reade Pl. and ending at the Mid-Hudson Bridge, according to the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union. 

Those organizing the march said that poor working conditions at both Vassar Brothers Hospital and Putnam Hospital in Carmel, owned by Danbury-based Nuvance Health, are exhausting staff members and driving patients to seek care elsewhere, according to union officials. 

Union officials said that these include short staffing and long wait times in emergency rooms, labs, and throughout every department in both hospitals. 

"Staff is working around the clock and they are exhausted and stressed. Under these circumstances, it’s no surprise that qualified caregivers, professionals and service workers have all been leaving their jobs," union officials said. 

Although contract negotiations have been taking place over the last few months, many union members said that they feel that Nuvance Health's decisions are "making things worse," according to union officials. 

The contract for over a thousand union members expired on Friday, Sept. 30, and another 500 members have been fighting for their first contract for up to two years, union officials said. 

"We’re coming together to demand that the administrators at Nuvance agree to a fair contract that will mitigate and resolve the staffing crisis, restore dignity and quality care, increase morale, and bring back the community hospitals we can all be proud of," the event's flier said. 

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