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Healthwire
Fall 2013

Feature Story
Rules of (community) engagement

Using a new approach to community engagement, union locals are building partnerships with their communities.

IT WAS THE THREAT to the very existence of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center that brought faith leaders, the community and labor together over the past year. In 2011, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature targeted the hospital—a Brooklyn, N.Y., institution that serves 400,000 patients a year—for downsizing, privatization or possible closure.

Prompted by the governor’s proposal, the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF), an AFT affiliate that represents 700 workers at the medical center, and the United University Professions (UUP) chapter at Downstate, which is also an AFT affiliate and represents 3,300 of the hospital’s faculty and staff, immediately began working with the community to save the hospital.

The result has been a thriving coalition that has rallied, lobbied state legislators and conducted  informational picketing.

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About Healthwire

Healthwire covers news and information relevant to the nurses and health professionals represented by AFT Healthcare. It is published five times a year and is mailed to all healthcare members of the AFT as a benefit of membership. Single copies are free on request. Questions, comments and inquiries about Healthwire should be sent to its managing editor Adrienne Coles.  
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