1199 Pro Tech Workers Stay The Course & Win!October 25, 2016
1199SEIU’s Professional and Technical workers covered under the contract with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes achieved a major victory on October 18 when they reached an agreement with the hospital association guaranteeing all Pro Tech workers a minimum of two paid days off per year. These days off can be used to attend conferences, seminars, or other forms of continuing education for their licenses or certifications.
“Part of it is about just feeling recognized for what we do,” said Silvia Lopez-Clarke, a certified surgical technologist at Northwell Health’s Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. “A lot of times we feel underappreciated for what we do. When people see the amount of what we actually contribute to patient care they say ‘wow!’”
These League-covered Pro Techs have struggled to win paid release time for years. The Union’s Pro Tech Committee pushed a disinterested League to open bargaining around the issue in October 2015. Keys to the victory included mobilization of Pro-Tech and other workers across the city, circulation of petitions delivered by large delegations of workers and a very active social media campaign. That campaign, #ValueHealthcarePros, was designed to bring attention to the critical work of Pro Tech members. It emphasized the importance of continuing education for staying the cutting edge of professional and technical professions. Shows of solidarity by non-Pro Tech workers were also vital to the victory.
Pro Tech members will become eligible for paid release time effective January 1, 2017. 1199 members employed at League institutions across the city expressed excitement when the news began to circulate.
“I think it’s great that the hospitals stepped up and recognized us as the dedicated professionals we are,” said Jasmin Garcia, a Clinical Laboratory Technologist at New York Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan. “Getting education on the latest innovations in all of our fields benefits both the staff and the hospitals. And being able to attend seminars on paid time is an acknowledgement of that.”