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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
Lisi’s cell number: (518) 944-9528

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 6, 2014

SUNY Downstate Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders begins 48-hour fast to defend vital health care services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center


On Sunday, March 9, at 3:00 p.m., the SUNY Downstate Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders will hold a news conference outside the entrance of SUNY Downstate at 470 Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn to announce the start of their 48-hour fast to protect vital health care services in Central Brooklyn.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), will be among the speakers. AFT is the national affiliate of United University Professions and the Public Employees Federation, two of the unions that represent workers at Downstate.

Coalition leaders, community members participating in the fast and state lawmakers representing Brooklyn residents will attend the news conference.

Coalition leaders will urge lawmakers to increase funding in the state budget for Downstate and SUNY’s teaching hospitals in Stony Brook (L.I.) and Syracuse.

Other confirmed speakers at the news conference include:

  • Pastor Gilford Monrose of Mt. Zion Church of God, president of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council;
  • Bishop Orlando Findlayter of New Hope Christian Fellowship, chairman of Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH);
  • Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council;
  • Pastor Shane Vidal of Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church;
  • Elder Will Seaton, Brooklyn Community Church;
  • Joy Williams, Brooklyn NAACP;
  • Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President of NYSUT;
  • Fred Kowal, UUP President
  • Susan Kent, President of Public Employees Federation;
  • Denise Berkley, CSEA Statewide Secretary;
  • Lester Crockett, Metropolitan Region President, CSEA; and
  • Rowena Blackman-Stroud, president of the United University Professions Chapter at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and UUP’s statewide treasurer.

Coalition leaders will hold a news conference at the conclusion of the fast at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11.


The SUNY Downstate Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders is a Brooklyn-based grassroots organization collectively fighting for vital health care services and jobs at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

PEF is the state's largest white-collar union representing 54,000 members in professional, scientific and technical positions.

CSEA is New York state's leading union, representing about 300,000 employees of the state and its counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities and public benefit corporations. CSEA represents nearly 800 workers at SUNY Downstate.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.

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