Settlement reached at Kaleida Health covering 7,200 workers in Western New YorkJuly 12, 2019
1199ers in Western New York have negotiated a settlement that will usher in a $15 minimum wage by May of next year, bringing them into parity with New York City, while the rest of the state remains at $12.50.
Overall the deal provides for a 10% pay increase across the board over the next three years, ensuring some of the best wages in Western New York.
1199SEIU negotiated alongside CWA Local 1168 and IOUE Local 17 to reach a tentative agreement for a three-year contract for Nurse Practitioners, RNs, LPNs, Techs, Professionals, Clerical workers, Service Workers, Maintenance Workers, and Engineers at Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s hospital of Buffalo, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban, Buffalo General Medical Center, HighPointe on Michigan and Kaleida Business Office.
On staffing too, the bargaining committee won concrete victories with an agreement to hire 90 more full-time equivalent jobs across the hospital system. Hospital management conceded that more staff were needed, particularly at Buffalo General Hospital, after recognizing the difference that improved staffing made at Oishei Children’s Hospital following union pressure.
Kaleida Health also agreed to increase their pension contributions for all employees, thereby improving their financial security in retirement.
The agreement includes a provision for CWA employees to join the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund in June 2021. This will double the number of employees in Upstate New York who are eligible to participate in our state-of-the-art programs designed to improve workers’ skill base and thereby career prospects. There will now be 8,000 employees eligible for the benefit across the Kaleida Health system.
Another important highlight of the agreement was the commitment to form a task force on violence in the workplace. Management has agreed to work with employees to improve ways to protect them from patient attacks and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Member engagement was very strong throughout the campaign. When members gave upgrade presentations to the bargaining committee and management over the course of two days, 100 members rallied in the hallway in solidarity. Members also organized a press conference to inform the public about the contract talks. Meetings were often packed and members participated in a very spirited social media campaign throughout bargaining process.
Union members will receive copies of the Tentative Agreement next week with Ratification Votes scheduled for July 24 and 25. The bargaining committee has unanimously recommended the passage of the three-year Agreement.