Informational Picket ‘May Lead To Eventual Strike’ By 700 1199 SEIU-Represented Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Employees ‘If A New Contract Is Not Reached In The Short Term,’ Union Officials Tell WNYLaborToday.com
(NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK) – An informational picket that was held Friday (September 27th) outside the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center may lead to eventual Strike by the medical center’s 700 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Workers East-represented Employees if new contract is not reached in the short term, Union Officials tell WNYLaborToday.com.
As many as 300 Workers walked a picket line for four hours to publicly demand a fair Union Contract and quality care for their patients. The Hospital Workers have been working without a contract since May 31st, when their previous three-year agreement expired. 1199 SEIU represents Service and Maintenance, Techs, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and other Health Care Professionals employed at the Niagara Falls Hospital.
Contract negotiations between the Union and hospital management broke off late Thursday with no agreement. Talks were scheduled to resume on Monday and Tuesday of next week, 1199 SEIU Vice-President Jim Scordato told WNYLaborToday.com, who also made it a point to say that he “was not optimistic” a tentative deal could be reached in the coming days.
“Besides a number of economic issues, our Members are ‘concerned about appropriate Staffing levels.’ This hospital is ‘well understaffed,’” Scordato told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper.
That, he added, “could lead to the ‘next step of moving it to a Strike Vote, which I think we could get very easily.’ (If things don’t move more quickly at the bargaining table), we ‘might be forced to issue’ a Strike Notice (to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center management).”
1199 SEIU Officials say - what they further described as “inadequate staffing levels and below-market wages” at Niagara County’s only inner-city hospital - cause long wait times for patients and make it difficult to recruit and retain qualified Staff.
On Friday, the 1199 SEIU-represented Workers picketed on their own time - during their lunch, during their breaks and on their day off - in order to alert the Niagara Falls Community of their quality health care concerns and to seek community support in their fight for a new contract.
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East represents more than 400,000 Nurses and Caregivers throughout the States of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and in Washington, D.C.
Here in Western New York, 1199 SEIU represents nearly 12,000 Nursing Home and Hospital Workers.