Another 250 nursing home workers in New York’s Hudson Valley have their first 1199SEIU contract. The caregivers at The Pines @ Poughkeepsie Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation are now covered by a collective bargaining agreement that was recently ratified with overwhelming support by the workers.
“This was a long struggle and we needed to be strong through the ups and downs,” said Claudine Giff, a certified nursing assistant and member of the union negotiating committee.
The contract includes annual wage increases, lump sum bonus checks, increases in pay for shift differentials and health benefits with minimal out-of-pocket costs for workers. The employer also agreed to contribute to the workers’ retirement fund and added Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to the holiday schedule.
Giff said she felt relief after ratification. “The health insurance is so important to me and my family,” she said. “I need to be healthy in order to come to work and take care of my residents. And I also have children at home to take care of.
“With the contract in place and the strong union we have now, we can negotiate an even better contract next time. Today, we’re happy that things will be better at work, with a grievance procedure to solve problems. We have a contract that protects our wages and benefits. That’s all good.”
More than two-thirds of the nursing home workers in Dutchess County, where The Pines is located, are now members of 1199SEIU, evidencing the union’s success in raising standards for healthcare workers throughout the region.