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Rochester, New York Veterinary Emergency Hospital Workers ‘Go Union’ - Vote to Join The IAM

Published Saturday, January 15, 2022
by IAM News
Rochester, New York Veterinary Emergency Hospital Workers ‘Go Union’ - Vote to Join The IAM

(ROCHESTER, NEW YORK) - 130 Workers employed at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services (VSES) in Rochester have overwhelmingly voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote count was announced live on a Zoom call with Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services Workers, Members of the IAM and the National Veterinary Professionals Union.

The Unit of 130 Workers is made up of Licensed Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, Front Desk Staff and other critical Staff.

Thrive Pet Healthcare owns VSES.  The company’s controlling shareholder is private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners.

“This grassroots campaign has been several months in the making.  The IAM’s bid for the NLRB Election was successful due to a partnership with Liz Hughston, President of the National Veterinary Professionals Union,” IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo said. 

Some of the significant issues for Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services Workers included unfair working conditions, including understaffing and stagnant wages - despite rising costs for pet medical procedures.

“This historic election resulted from courageous Workers in the veterinary industry who not only wanted to make change for themselves but wished to set an example for Veterinary Workers all across the Nation,” IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. said. 

“(This) victory put the veterinary industry and private equity investors on notice about making sure their business model is based on equity and respect.  We can’t afford to let this industry go the path of so many other industries destroyed by private equity investors.  Now the hard work begins.  The IAM will lend our full resources to obtain a first contract for the Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services Workers,” Martinez said.

National Veterinary Professionals Union President Liz Hughston said: “The pandemic has exposed several issues impacting Workers in veterinary medicine.  These issues have created a significant crisis in our industry.  The only solution to combat this crisis is what the Workers at VSES have done by creating a voice in their workplace.  This Labor-Management partnership will make VSES a hospital that is better for Employees, pet owners and the pets they serve in the Rochester community.”  

The IAM represents nearly 600,000 active and retired Members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airline, railroad, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care and other industries.

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