Frontline Caregivers at Queens, NY, Hospital Fight for Their Patients and Their Future

August 21, 2012

Workers at St. Mary’s Hospital in Bayside, Queens who have been struggling for nearly a year to negotiate a first contract are holding an informational picket on Wednesday, August 22 from 1-4 pm to let the boss know that enough is enough.

The 320 workers at St. Mary’s – 90 RNs, and 230 LPNs and service and maintenance workers – voted overwhelmingly in elections held in August and September 2011 to join 1199SEIU. St. Mary’s workers care for chronically ill and disabled children. Many of their young patients spend years at the institution; some are there from birth.

Though St. Mary’s workers provide very sick children with the highest levels of care, the hospital’s management has refused even basic improvements to workers’ benefits. St. Mary’s workers have no job security, virtually no pensions and an expensive healthcare plan. Throughout negotiations, bosses have insisted that they can’t afford to pay for benefit improvements thought they refuse to provide financial documents to back up the claim, and are about to add a new $110 million pavilion. 1199SEIU is preparing to file unfair labor practice charges against the hospital administration.

Local elected officials have expressed their support for the St. Mary’s workers, including State Senators Tony Avella and Tobey Stavisky, who called on the hospital to do the right thing and settle a fair contract.

“The conditions at St. Mary’s are substandard to every other hospital and nursing home 1199SEIU represents throughout the city,” said union Executive Vice President Steve Kramer.

St. Mary’s is located at 29-01 216th St. in Bayside Queens. For more information contact your organizer.