Mar 1, 2024 | News Story

More than 1200 Frontline Workers and Reverend Al Sharpton Rally With Faith and Union Leaders, Elected Officials at SUNY Downstate Hospital

A crowd of more than 1,200 doctors, nurses, hospital workers, and community members joined union members and elected officials to shut down a section of Clarkson Avenue across from SUNY Downstate University Hospital on Thursday to loudly express their support for keeping Downstate open and condemn the Governor’s plan to close it.

United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, hosted the “Brooklyn Needs Downstate” rally. UUP was joined by other national and statewide labor leaders from the American Federation of Teachers, the New York State AFL-CIO, NYSUT, PEF, and the New York State Nurses Association. The noon rally drew faculty and staff from Downstate, residents, medical students, patients, and community members who gathered in solidarity with UUP to show Governor Hochul why she needs to rethink her plan to close SUNY Downstate Hospital.

A group of Brooklyn faith leaders spoke at the rally, as did several Brooklyn-area state legislators, including Senator Zellnor Myrie, who has loudly opposed the governor’s plan to close SUNY Downstate Hospital. Speakers noted that decades of neglect and disinvestment by the state have threatened patients’ access to equitable, high-quality health care services in Brooklyn.

Union leaders are calling for the governor to immediately stop the closure plan and convene an inclusive and deliberative public process in which the community and all other stakeholders are meaningfully engaged. This process should focus on developing a sustainability plan for Downstate that maintains the hospital as a free-standing facility that can provide core specialty services and other critical health care services the Central Brooklyn community needs and deserves. Read more here!