The New York State Nurses Association will join elected leaders and labor allies to call for respect for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) patients and nurses, and for an expanded public health care system.

Organizers predict that over 1,000 RN members of the New York State Nurses Association from throughout the state will unite with elected leaders, including mayoral candidate Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and candidate for comptroller Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, labor leaders and community allies.

The protesting RNs say that they “will rally for respect for HHC patients and nurses and an end to health care inequality in New York City.” They are scheduled to gather at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 at Barclay Street and Broadway in New York City.

In a statement, New York State Nurses Association said, “More than 1,000 RNs from throughout New York state will rally at City Hall to call for an expanded public health care system and for respect for patients and nurses from New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, our public hospital system. HHC hospitals, which include Bellevue and Kings County Hospital, are New York City’s health care safety net. No one is ever turned away from an HHC hospital, regardless of insurance status or income.

“In times of crisis, HHC nurses step up to save lives and provide uninterrupted care under the most difficult conditions. When Sandy caused massive power outages in Bellevue and Coney Island Hospitals, HHC nurses safely evacuated hundreds of patients.” Privatization, outsourcing and the epidemic of hospital closures are threatening New York City’s public health care system and could worsen health care inequality, added theNew York State Nurses Association.

Representing more than 100,000 frontline nurses, the New York State Nurses Association stated that they “are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.” “HHC nurses have worked for more than three years without a union contract. Nurses are calling for a fair contract, a renewed investment in public health care and for improved nurse-to-patient staffing levels in HHC facilities. Studies link safe nurse-to-patient ratios with lower patient mortality rates, favorable patient outcomes and shorter patient stays,” the statement concluded.