Healthcare Unions Sign Two-Week Contract Extension With Strong Memorial Hospital & University of RochesterSeptember 8, 2023
For immediate release: Friday, September 9, 2023
Contact: April Ezzell, 716-449-1620
1199SEIU, SEIU Local 200United & Largest Rochester Employer to continue contract talks next week
Rochester, NY – After 6 sessions at the bargaining table, the two unions representing more than 1,800 patient care and service workers today agreed to a two-week contract extension with Strong Memorial Hospital & University of Rochester. Contract talks between the two unions and management began (8/22) and the contract extension sets the new expiration date at 9/23. Both sides will continue negotiations on Monday.
Both unions are coming together to negotiate one agreement for workers who provide a high level of service and care for patients and students at the hospital and campus. Workers employed by the hospital are represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, and workers at the University of Rochester are represented by 200United SEIU.
Healthcare workers and service workers are asking for a contract that includes dignity and respect language, a fair wage increase, and comprehensive benefit package. Better wages and a quality comprehensive benefit package will also help to retain and recruit more workers to alleviate short staffing problems at the hospital and campus.
A Federal Mediator from Federal Mediation Conciliation Services (FMCS) joined negotiations during the first session in late August.
As the two sides continue to negotiate over non-economic issues, workers are demanding help with short staffing. To help with short staffing, the unions have two major proposals including reducing the amount of temporary employees in non-benefitted positions and reducing the probationary period for newly hired workers. “We believe that moving workers into permanent and benefitted positions will help to reduce turnover rates and help to recruit long term workers to care for patients and provide services to our community,” said Tracey Harrison, 1199SEIU Vice-President for Rochester/Corning area.
"We were hit hard with COVID pandemic and are still serving the Rochester community as a primary and intensive care hospital that most of Rochester come to for some of the best healthcare in Western NY,” said Robert Brown, Patient Unit Secretary. “We must put more emphasis on rewarding and paying workers that have maintained every department from Environmental Service to Transportation, Food Service, and Patient Care. Without these people Strong Memorial Hospital would not be able to thrive and to provide the best services and care to our community," said Brown.
Workers represented by SEIU Local 200United at the University of Rochester include Building Services, Dining Services, Porters, Cooks, Stack Attendants – Library, Catering Service Assistants, Bus Drivers, Truck Drivers, and Stockkeepers.
Workers represented by 1199SEIU at Strong Memorial Hospital include Patient Care Technicians, Environmental Service Workers, Nursing Assistants, Cooks, Food Service Workers, Dietary Workers, Dental Assistants, Drivers, Materials Processing Specialists, Patient Unity Secretaries, Porters, Stockkeepers, Transport Assistants, Transportation Center Workers, Truck Drivers, and Unit Support Assistants.
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.
SEIU Local 200United, a union of thousands of members who are working people striving for fair and just workplaces and communities. We represent two million members in New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania in the public and private sector. https://www.seiu200united.org