140 Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center Workers Vote To ‘Go Union’ With CWA Local 1168, ‘Become The First’ Veterinary Center In The Buffalo Area To Unionize
(ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK) - In a strong show of solidarity, 140 Veterinary Health Care Workers at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center have voted to Unionize with Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1168.
The group of Workers - including Vet Techs, Vet Assistants, Laboratory Assistants, Pharmacy Assistants & Technicians, Accounting Clerks, Administrative Assistants, Client Service Reps, Surgical Assistants and Housekeeping, began their organizing drive earlier this year after contacting Local 1168 with concerns about their working conditions.
Like many in the health care field, Orchard Park Vet Workers have been forced to deal with alarmingly low staffing levels and high rates of Staff turnover, creating serious barriers to their ability to provide adequate care for their animal patients.
Orchard Park Vet Workers also rallied around issues of equal treatment for all Employees, stronger job protections, bonuses to help retain Staff, and having a voice on the job to help strengthen their workplace.
“We are extremely proud to represent the first Veterinary Center in Buffalo,” CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini, who is a Registered Nurse, said. “The care that is provided is critical to our pets and our families. We are looking forward to bargaining a first contract and making improvements in the work environment at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center.”
The Workers voted in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)-certified election by a strong margin of 64-to-51 no (with seven non-determinative challenge ballots cast).
On July 27th, CWA received notice that the employer is not challenging the election, so the NLRB is moving forward in preparing a certification letter.
The newly-Unionized Workers will meet this week to begin preparations for bargaining their first contract.
The new Union-represented Workers at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center were “very happy” to be part of the CWA and were looking forward to negotiating a contract “that will make their professional lives better.”
“What it means to me to be in CWA is that I finally have a voice not only for myself but for those who are voiceless,” said Bryanna Ely, a Vet Assistant and Clinical Services Rep.
“I am very happy to be part of the CWA family, as they will guide us (the Bargaining Unit) to achieve a contract that we are deserving of. I look forward to my Co-Workers benefiting from a contract that will make their professional lives better,” said Maria VanCuren, a Licensed Vet Tech.
“I am beyond ecstatic to see our hospital is Unionized now. From a family of all Union Members, I have reaped the benefits for so long and have seen first-hand how it has helped. I am now excited for my Co-Workers to experience the same thing,” said Mary Nowicki, a Licensed Vet Tech.
The CWA represents 700,000 Members who are employed in telecommunications, customer service, health care, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.
CWA Local 1168 represents 3,700 healthcare Workers throughout the Buffalo area - at Kaleida Health, St. Joes Hospital, Absolut of Gasport, Millard Fillmore Surgery Center and Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.