Healthcare Workers At WMC/HealthAlliance in Kingston Have Ratified Their First Union Contract; Agreement Took Effect Immediately Upon RatificationSeptember 12, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Mindy Berman, 518-229-0486
New No-Cost Health Benefits Will Help To Maintain and Recruit Qualified Staff And Address Serious Staff Shortages
After two years of sometimes tumultuous negotiations, an overwhelming majority of healthcare workers at WMC/HealthAlliance Hospital, members of 1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement. They voted to join 1199SEIU in early 2020. The contract includes:
- 1. Across the board wage rate increases;
- 2. Annual raises;
- 3. Starting in 2024, the employer (Westchester Medical Center/HealthAlliance Hospital) will participate in the 1199 National Benefit Fund (NBF), a “Taft-Hartley fund” that is administered by both labor and management trustees. The NBF provides 1199 members with unparalleled health coverage and little to no out-of-pocket costs; no premiums and zero to modest co-pays;
- 4. A contractually guaranteed grievance procedure with a timeline to level the playing field when resolving workplace issues.
Greg Speller, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley said, “WMC/HealthAlliance is joining almost every other 1199SEIU health system employer in the Hudson Valley by participating in the 1199 National Benefit Fund. These employers recognize they can better attract and keep qualified caregivers at their institutions by offering their staff what they need most—economic stability and peace of mind. They have taken the long view and done the right thing by putting the best interests of their staff and patients first. We look forward to working together to ensure that the Ulster County community and surrounding regions can receive the best possible quality care.”
Gabe Valles, a Clinical Tech in the Psychiatric Emergency department said: “This was a long haul and we can all sigh with relief. I am personally thankful that my family will have to struggle less once the wage increases and the affordable health benefits take effect. Our job is to make people healthy—it’s reasonable that we want to be able to care for our families and care for our patients at the same time. This is a terrific first step, and I hope that labor and management will continue to work together and make sure the contract is executed fairly.”
There are more than two hundred 1199SEIU members in the bargaining unit, including but not limited to: nursing assistants, specialty care techs, drivers, CASACs, pharmacy techs, clerks, maintenance workers and more.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is America's largest and fastest-growing healthcare union. We represent over 450,000 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. 1199seiu.org