For the second time in a week, Nassau Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 830 leaders and members staged protests against what they describe as the “dangerous” policies of Nassau University Medical Center’s administrative staff.
Hundreds of members from NUMC, including nurses and other medical staffers, rallied at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Carmen Avenue in East Meadow July 24. They carried signs. They shouted to passers-by who honked horns in support.
Accompanying them was a 12-foot-high inflatable rat, which has been stationed outside the county’s public hospital since a similar protest July 17 and will remain, say union officials, till July 27.
CSEA Local 830 President Jerry Laricchiuta explains the protests are necessary to bring attention to ongoing practices endangering the safety of NUMC’s patients and employees.
“Someone has to intervene,” Laricchiuta tells the Press. “Before it’s too late, before somebody gets hurt here… the basic care is hurting.”
Hospital administrators declined to comment about the most recent demonstration, and instead referred to a previous statement that Arthur A. Gianelli, president/CEO of the Nassau Health Care Corporation (NHCC) and former deputy county executive for budget and finance, released in response to last week’s protest:
“The timing of the placement of the rat—the final day of a very important Joint Commission survey—speaks volumes about the union. Is says, basically, that this union works in opposition to—and in fact undermines—the success of the corporation. Fortunately, the corporation will succeed in spite of their juvenile behavior.”
CSEA Local 830 represents 3,400 members at the NHCC, which consists of NUMC, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and several clinics. It is the county’s largest union, with 10,000 total members. A key problem existing throughout the hospital and requiring immediate correction, the union argues, is understaffing. The issue has been impacting its nursing, psychiatric ward and intensive care unit, it says.
Laricchiuta says he and the rat will be out in front of the hospital as long as they have to be.
“We’re going to continue to show the dangerous situation that’s being created here until somebody pays attention,” says Laricchiuta. “Nobody in the county government seems to care. Nobody in this administration seems to care, either, so the public needs to know what’s going on and then eventually we’ll get elected officials and this administration’s attention. Until then, Larry the Rat’s going to stay right where he is.”