Union Contracts Covering 1,800 Service Workers At The University Of Rochester & Strong Memorial Hospital Expire - 1199 SEIU & SEIU Local 200 United Healthcare Workers Issue 10-Day Picket Notice
(ROCHESTER, NEW YORK) – Today (Friday, October 22th), the Union contracts covering 1,800 Service Workers employed at Strong Memorial Hospital and University of Rochester Campus since 2018 expired following a short extension, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Officials said.
On Thursday (October 21st), in a nearly unanimous vote, Hospital and Campus Workers (Pictured Above/SEIU Photo) voted to authorize their Bargaining Committees to issue their employers a 10-day notice of job action.
The SEIU Unions returned to the bargaining table today in hopes of reaching a fair agreement.
For more than a month, Health Care Workers represented by 1199 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East at Strong Memorial Hospital and University of Rochester Campus workers represented by SEIU Local 200 United, 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 forty-two 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 and campus.”
Union Workers want a contract that ensures better staffing levels, SEIU says.
“I’m a Patient Care Technician (PCT) and working short-staffed is mentally and physically challenging and just exhausting,” says Dana Allison, a PCT at the hospital. “Some days I have twenty-five 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.”
Many Workers were feeling unappreciated throughout the 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, a Cook 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.”
Workers represented by SEIU Local 200 United at the University of Rochester Campus include Building Services, Dining Services, Porters, Cooks, Stack Attendants - Library, Catering Service Assistants, Bus Drivers, Truck Drivers, and Stock Keepers.
Workers represented by 1199 SEIU 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, Stock Keepers, Transport Assistants, Transportation Center Workers, Truck Drivers, and Unit Support Assistants.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East - the largest and fastest-growing Health Care Union in America, represents more than 400,000 Nurses and Caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C. and Florida.
SEIU Local 200 United represents two million Members in New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania in the Public and Private Sector.