Patient navigators at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, NY voted unanimously for 1199 representation in an election held June 16.

The 40 patient navigators at Jamaica are liaisons between the community and healthcare providers; they have a long list of responsibilities that includes patient outreach, on-site assistance, scheduling appointments, translating, helping patients get to medical appointments, education, and more. Cynthee Cortes, a Jamaica patient navigator for two years, helped lead the organizing drive.

“I felt that it was important to have representation by the Union because we are responsible for a lot of different aspects of patient care, and we aren’t being compensated. We are healthcare workers and we should have access to the benefits of the Union,” says Cortes.

The workers say they are relieved they will be covered under the existing collective bargaining agreement at Jamaica.

“We have a big workload, and we sometimes have to stay overtime to prepare for tomorrow’s appointments; everything depends on the day before,” said Paola Castro, a navigator for gastroenterology services. “We don’t get overtime and that will be a big help for us, but really our work is very rewarding. I have the ability to help people in two languages.”

1199 Magazine | July / August 2017