Jordan Health workers accept mediator's wage proposal

May 31, 2018

by Sarah Taddeo, Democrat & Chronicle

Unionized Anthony Jordan Health Center workers have agreed to a proposal set forth by a federal mediator in contract negotiations with the health system, the workers announced Thursday.

The 65 employees represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, have been working on a contract since November.

This most recent proposal concedes on a 2018 wage freeze included in the budget approved by the health system, but includes “modest pay increases” in 2019 and 2020, and maintains health benefits, according to a union statement.

Jordan Health Center and the union have separately stated that they are favorable to a 4 percent wage increase in 2019 and a 2 percent increase in 2020. At issue at this point is an additional 1 percent increase in wages in 2020 that the union says will balance out the wage freeze and employee healthcare contributions over time.

"It’s a contract where both sides didn’t get everything they wanted, but we think it’s fair and the federal negotiator believes it’s fair," said union member and Jordan Health employee medical records clerk Chris Roe.

A statement from the health system just before Thursday’s press conference argued that the union is asking for more in wage increases that the health system is able to provide. It also reemphasized its efforts to reach a fair contract, and that representatives "communicated a proposal to the union and the mediator that addresses the union’s most recent wage demand."

The statement did not include specific comments about the federal mediator’s proposal. If dialogue doesn’t continue to move forward around the negotiations, a three-day walkout on June 5 is still on the table, union members said Thursday. Workers participated in a one-day walkout on April 30.

Jordan officials and unionized workers have reiterated that patient care will not be affected by the union negotiations.

"We are very grateful to the union for all that they’ve done and continued to do for us as workers," said Jordan Health employee Beverly Colon. "The faster and quicker we get this completed, it’s less we have to worry about and we can continue moving forward with our duties."

The union represents licensed practical nurses, medical technicians, nursing assistants, clerical and service employees at the health center. The union also represents employees at the University of Rochester Medical Center and six local nursing homes.

1199SEIU is the "largest union in New York state and the largest health care union in the nation," representing over 25,000 nurses and health care workers in New York and more than 400,000 members nationally.