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April 30, 2012

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NYSUT RA answers Downstate’s distress call


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UUP statewide Treasurer and Downstate Chapter President Rowena Blackman-Stroud, addressing the NYSUT RA in Buffalo, speaks on behalf of a resolution by UUP to keep Downstate’s University Hospital in Brooklyn open.

“This resolution is about fighting to keep Downstate open, stopping the privatization of our hospital, and preserving critical hospital services for our patients,” she said. Blackman-Stroud said Downstate’s fate has implications for SUNY’s other hospitals in Stony Brook and Syracuse and SUNY’s academic campuses. “They could then privatize services on any SUNY campus,” she warned.

The Medicaid Redesign Team under the leadership of Stephen Berger is proposing to shut down inpatient operations at Downstate and move them to Long Island College Hospital.

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi recognized the importance of the resolution, telling the more than 2,000 NYSUT delegates, “This is one of the most critical fights that NYSUT and higher education have faced in decades.”

Iannuzzi departed from routine procedure to call for a voice vote on the resolution. The delegates responded with a loud chorus of “aye.” Iannuzzi proclaimed the resolution had passed unanimously.

UUP President Phil Smith also rose to speak on behalf of SUNY’s hospitals. During a question-and-answer session with state Education Commissioner John King, Smith said SUNY’s hospitals “are on the precipice” and asked what he plans to do to see that medical education is protected. King replied he’s aware of UUP’s concerns and that he and the Board of Regents “are on the issue.”

NYSUT delegates approved about 50 resolutions during the annual RA held April 26-28.


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