1199SEIU Files Two Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against Orleans Community Health

January 18, 2024

1199SEIU Logo 1@3x.pngPress Release: January 18, 2024
Contact: April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620
1199SEIU Communications


Union files charges with National Labor Relations Board alleging the employer violated labor law by bargaining in bad faith and participating in direct dealing with workers


Hospital and clinic caregivers are fighting for living wages and quality benefits to help retain and recruit more staff to care for patients in rural Upstate communities 

Medina, NY – 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East filed two Unfair Labor Practice Charges against Orleans Community Health alleging management violated labor laws by bargaining in bad faith and engaging in direct dealing with workers. 

1199SEIU alleges that Orleans Community Health failed to bargain in good faith and engaged in direct dealing.  

The union and management have been negotiating since mid-December last year.  The three-year union contract covering 200 workers at Orleans Community Health’s three sites expired December 31, 2023.  

A Federal Mediator from Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) is present during contract talks.  Both sides are set to return to the bargaining table on Friday, January 19th at 9:00 AM.  

Union hospital and clinic workers at Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital, Lake Plains Batavia Dialysis Clinic, and Albion Healthcare Center voted to authorize an informational picket last week if no agreement can be reached soon. Rural hospital and clinic workers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. 

Caregivers at three Orleans Community Health sites in Medina, Albion, and Batavia have been fighting for living wages and quality comprehensive benefits to help retain and recruit more workers to care for patients. Services at Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital have expanded[1] and the increase in patients leaves workers without enough staff to do their jobs and to provide the highest quality care patients in the rural community rely upon.  Downsizing and service line closures[2] in nearby counties have contributed to staffing issues at the hospital and clinics. 

“I have been a Certified Nurse Assistant for 23 years and I’ve worked at Medina Memorial Hospital for 7 years,” said Jessica Skowneski.  “It’s a struggle and with inflation, it’s getting worse. Fighting for a living wage means that I can afford to eat by the end of the week,” said Skowneski. 

In 2021, during the COVID pandemic, some top leaders at Orleans Community Health earned large salary increases ranging from 15-75%.[3]

If the worker led bargaining committee is unable to reach a fair agreement with their employer for everyone, the union can issue a 10-day notice to hold an informational picket outside the hospital and/or clinics.  Workers are allowed to participate in informational picketing either before/after work or during their lunch or break. An informational picket is a protected job action under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and workers can not be retaliated against for participating.  

1199SEIU represents professional, technical and service jobs at all three sites including:  Registered Nurses, Dietetic Technicians, Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapy Assistants, Radiology Technologists, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, MRI Techs, Surgical Techs, Certified Nurse Assistants, Unit Secretaries, Ambulatory Unit Aides, Activities Aides, Pharmacy Technicians, Aide Porters, Cooks, Cafeteria Aides, Maintenance Workers, Environmental Service Workers, Couriers, Patient Care Technicians, Processor Phlebotomist, and Clinical Technicians. 


1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.

[1]One hospital closes. Others cut services. Inside the massive changes at Western New York's community, rural hospitals (buffalonews.com)
[2]Another Western New York hospital announces cuts to its services (wkbw.com)
[3] Source: Orleans Community Health - Medina Memorial Hospital 990 Forms 2019; 2020; 2021; 2022