How to use this toolkit: Feel free to copy/paste the sample emails to your members! You can also download the flyer to give out at worksites, and the graphics to share in emails and on social media.
Facebook and Twitter are cracking down on what they call “duplicate content” - that is, posts from multiple users that share the exact same text. We therefore do not recommend copy/pasting exact text from this toolkit for your social media posts and won’t share sample posts. Instead, please use the talking points as a guide to draft your own social media posts!
Materials & Info
- Facebook graphics
- Video (2 min)
- Talking Points
- Sample Email to Members
On May 4, 2021, the New York Legislature passed a package of bills to directly address the longstanding crisis of staffing levels in the state’s hospitals (S.1168/A.108).
The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the staffing crisis and brought more attention on it from the public and from legislators, but staffing shortages have been a big issue for a long time.
What the law does:
- Requires all hospitals in New York State to create Staffing Committees made up of equal parts worker representatives and management.
- Staffing Committees must meet and agree on staffing plans for every unit and shift in their facility by July 1st each year.
- Staffing plans are enforceable by the Department of Health.
- Staffing data must routinely be made publicly available to all on the DoH website.
- The DoH can investigate and impose civil penalties ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 against hospitals that fail to 1) form a staffing committee and create a staffing plan in accordance with the law 2) resolve violations of that plan.
This is a major step forward in our fight for safe staffing, and the result of decades of blood, sweat, tears, and organizing. CWA literally helped write this new law - and now we have to make sure that our members understand it, and that we all step up to enforce it.
On January 1, 2023, staffing plans created by each facility’s Staffing Committee take effect. We’ve put together a website with info and links to each staffing plan that hospitals must follow as of Jan 1, and forms that we strongly urge all members (regardless of facility or job title) to fill out anytime they see a violation of their unit’s plan.
- Bill numbers: S.1168/A.108
- This legislation was passed in 2021; CWA helped write the new law.
- We have been fighting for decades to make our healthcare facilities safer for workers and for patients, and this law is a HUGE step forward.
- What’s new on January 1, 2023:
- Plans created by the Staffing Committee at each facility go into effect and must be followed.
- All workers should know the Staffing Plan for their unit and shift.
- CWA’s Staffing Forms are live - all members are strongly encouraged to submit a complaint through the form for their facility if they see or experience any violations of a staffing plan OR if the staffing on their unit is inadequate for safe patient care or results in poor or unsafe working conditions.
- CWA Staffing Captains will be canvassing their facilities to speak with members about the law, the staffing plans, and how to report violations.
- Use this link to report a staffing violation, or any other staffing-related concerns, for each facility.
- We need everyone to Step Up to Staff Up!
- We cannot count on hospitals to adhere to the plans and to the law - we need to hold them accountable.
- This new law is HUGE for healthcare workers in New York, but it’s only as strong as our ability to enforce it.
- Everyone - all workers, regardless of job title or unit - are strongly encouraged to use the CWA Staffing Form to report staffing data at all times, and complaints when the staffing plans aren’t being followed.
- Some hospitals may also opt to have workers report violations through their own hospital-specific form - we still encourage members to fill out CWAs staffing data collection (Part 1 of the Staffing Form). It’s vital for CWA to have as much info as possible so we can track staffing data and address any staffing plan violations.
- This is a huge step in our fight for safe staffing, but we know that there is more work to be done - that’s why it’s vital to use the Staffing Form so that we can track data and strengthen our continued fight, both legislative and in contract negotiations.
Sample Email for Your Members
[Subject line] Staffing Plans take effect TODAY, January 1
Today is an important day for all healthcare workers in New York - please read for vital info about staffing, and click here to report staffing violations and unsafe staffing levels in your unit.
In 2021, CWA helped pass a new law requiring every hospital in New York State to create Staffing Committees made up of workers and management, with at least half of the committee being frontline workers. These committees are tasked with creating Staffing Plans for all direct care titles on each unit and shift in the hospital. Today, January 1, those plans come into effect and must be followed by the hospital - no exceptions. But, it’s up to us to enforce them.
What does that mean?
Every single CWA member - no matter your unit or job title - should be aware of what the Staffing Plan for your shift is and, most importantly, report any violations of that plan to CWA using this form.
This new law is a huge step for us in our ongoing fight to increase staffing, but it’s only as strong as we make it. It’s vital that we report regularly on the staffing levels of our units - especially when there’s a violation, but even if there’s not, so that we can keep collecting data.
Use the CWA Staffing Form to file a complaint if the staffing on your unit meets any of the following:
- Violates your hospital's staffing plans
- Is inadequate for safe patient care
- Results in poor, unfair, or unsafe working conditions
We have power when we stand together. This is a huge win for healthcare workers throughout New York - but only if we step up to enforce it by reporting violations and unsafe working conditions.
Step Up to Staff Up! Monitor your shift’s staffing levels and report any violations to CWA using the Staffing Form.
Happy New Year,
President, [CWA LOCAL NUMBER]