Historic Agreement: 1199SEIU Members In NY’s Hudson Valley Have Ratified A Contract After More Than A Year of Tense Negotiations With Connecticut-Based Nuvance HealthApril 26, 2023
More than 1,500 members of 1199SEIU, the nation’s largest healthcare union, have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a contract that will improve the lives of the workers, their families and patients, and will also help to recruit and retain staff
The 3-day ratification vote, which took place on April 19, 20 and 21, was the culmination of more than a year of contentious negotiations. With constant stalling on behalf of the employer and little progress being made, the healthcare workers were forced to hold several informational pickets, joined with concerned elected officials and patients at press conferences, held a car caravan to inform the public and contact Board members, and demanded dozens of meetings with management (away from the negotiating table.)
The bargaining units:
First union contract:
• Technical Workers at Northern Dutchess
• BioMed Engineers at Vassar/Putnam
• Radiation Therapists at Vassar Putnam
• Vassar Brothers Medical Center
• Putnam Hospital
• Annual raises of 3.5% in 2023, 2024, 2025
• Increases minimum rates up to 10%
• Juneteenth as an additional premium holiday
• Long-time members continue their no-cost, comprehensive health benefits through the 1199 National Benefit Fund
• New members to be covered by the 1199 National Benefit Fund effective 12/1/24
Background: New York’s healthcare system is facing an unprecedented crisis. Three years since the first COVID case was confirmed in New York, patients and workers continue to face pandemic’s aftershocks. Emergency rooms are overflowing, patients wait interminably for lab results, and healthcare workers are fed up and leaving the industry. This contract aims to recruit and retain workers and bring back the type of care that Hudson Valley residents have enjoyed in decades past.
Michael Dick, Biomedical Engineer, Vassar:
"As a lifetime member of this community, this is much more significant than a win for the "people who work here". This is a victory for the entire community. This organization is meant to serve ALL of us. With the support of 1199 and the entirety of its membership, we look forward to bringing back the Vassar we know.
Daniel Duffy, Radiation Therapist, Putnam:
“After three years of being persistent and at the same time being patient we have our contract. I think, I hope, Nuvance may now see us as a valuable asset to their organization.”
Greg Speller, 1199 Executive Vice President:
“We are very happy that our members prevailed and won important collective bargaining agreements that will benefit healthcare workers and patients. Special praise goes to the workers who fought hard for their first contracts; technical workers at Northern Dutchess Hospital, and staff in the biomedical and radiation therapy departments at Vassar and Putnam.
It must be noted that this was markedly different from other negotiations with other hospital systems. Sadly, Nuvance treated their healthcare workers poorly in this process. Instead of coming to the table and agreeing to good terms (that the 1199 healthcare workers eventually forced upon them), management fought, stalled and disrespected their workers—during the same time they were getting all of us through a global pandemic. This out-of-state hospital operator must treat their workers much more respectfully, given what the workers have done for their communities and continue to do for their communities.”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. 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.