Union Healthcare Workers at Orleans Community Health Sites in Medina, Batavia, and Albion Vote To Authorize Informational PicketJanuary 12, 2024
Press Release: January 11, 2024
Contact: April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620
Hospital and clinic caregivers are fighting for living wages and quality benefits to help retain and recruit more staff to care for patients in rural Upstate communities
Medina, NY – More than 200 hospital workers in rural Upstate New York could hit the picket line soon this winter. Union members at Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital, Lake Plains Batavia Dialysis Clinic, and Albion Healthcare Center voted to authorize an informational picket if no agreement can be reached soon. Rural hospital workers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare workers union in the country.
Caregivers at three Orleans Community Health sites in Medina, Albion, and Batavia have been fighting for living wages and quality comprehensive benefits to help retain and recruit more workers to care for patients. Services at Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital have expanded and the increase in patients leaves workers without enough staff to provide the quality care patients in the rural community rely upon. Downsizing and service line closures in nearby counties have contributed to staffing issues at the hospital and clinics.
“I have been a Certified Nurse Assistant for 23 years and I’ve worked at Medina Memorial Hospital for 7 years,” said Jessica Skowneski. “It’s a struggle and with inflation, it’s getting worse. Fighting for a living wage means that I can afford to eat by the end of the week,” said Skowneski.
In 2021, during the COVID pandemic, some top leaders at Orleans Community Health earned large salary increases ranging from 15-75%.
The three-year union contract covering workers at Orleans Community Health’s three sites expired December 31, 2023. The union and management have been negotiating since mid-December last year.
A Federal Mediator from Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services is present during contract talks. Both sides are set to return to the bargaining table on Friday, January 19th.
If the worker led bargaining committee is unable to reach a fair agreement with their employer for everyone, the union can issue 10-day notice to hold an informational picket outside the hospital and/or clinics. Workers are allowed to participate in informational picketing either before/after work or during their lunch or break. An informational picket is a protected job action under the National Labor Relations Board and workers can not be retaliated against for participating.
1199SEIU represents professional, technical and service jobs at all three sites including: Registered Nurses, Dietetic Technicians, Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapy Assistants, Radiology Technologists, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, MRI Techs, Surgical Techs, Certified Nurse Assistants, Unit Secretaries, Ambulatory Unit Aides, Activities Aides, Pharmacy Technicians, Aide Porters, Cooks, Cafeteria Aides, Maintenance Workers, Environmental Service Workers, Couriers, Patient Care Technicians, Processor Phlebotomist, and Clinical Technicians.
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.
 Source: Orleans Community Health - Medina Memorial Hospital 990 Forms 2019; 2020; 2021; 2022