Union Contracts Covering 1,800 Service Workers at U of R and Strong Memorial Hospital ExpiresOctober 22, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: April Ezzell, 1199SEIU Communications, (716)449‐1620
1199SEIU and SEIU Local 200 United Healthcare Workers Issue 10-Day Picket Notice
On Friday, October 22, the union contracts covering 1,800 service workers at Strong Memorial Hospital and University of Rochester Campus since 2018 expired following a short extension. Yesterday, in a nearly unanimous vote, hospital and campus workers voted to authorize their bargaining committees to issue their employers a 10-day notice of job action.
For over a month, healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, at Strong Memorial Hospital and University of Rochester Campus workers represented by SEIU Local 200United, along with a federal mediator have been negotiating with management to reach an agreement that includes fair living wages, affordable health insurance, and addresses key issues like staffing at the hospital. Workers say that despite the increased importance of their roles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they do not feel valued by management and are also fighting for COVID-19 pay.
“I have worked as a Unit Secretary at Strong Memorial for 42 years,” says Shirley Hobbs. “I am concerned because I need a living wage and health insurance. They don’t seem to have respect for service workers. They don’t respect us for what we do. Our service workers put themselves at risk by going in to clean COVID rooms and we don’t get treated with the same respect or get the same wages as everyone else in the hospital,” says Hobbs.
Union workers want a contract that ensures better staffing levels. “I’m a Patient Care Technician (PCT) and working short staffed is mentally and physically challenging and just exhausting,” says Dana Allison, PCT at the hospital. “Some days I have 25 patients. I have to bathe them, draw bloods, take vitals and provide care for them. It was especially tough when we had COVID patients since they need so much around the clock care,” says Allison.
Many workers were feeling unappreciated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and workers are asking for State of Emergency Pay due to COVID-19. “As service workers, we want to be treated equally and with respect,” says Tacarah Reyes, Cook 3 at the Campus. “We want to be shown that we are valued and respected. We are all human. We want equal opportunity to make a good living,” says Reyes.
The Unions return to the bargaining table today in hopes of reaching a fair agreement. Workers represented by SEIU Local 200United at the University of Rochester Campus 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 Environmental Service Workers, Nursing Assistants, Cooks, Food Service Workers, Dietary Workers, Dental Assistants, Drivers, Patient Care Technicians, 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. https://www.1199seiu.org
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