After almost a year of negotiations, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home in Gloversville has ratified a new contract with union workers.
This week the hospital announced a new collective bargaining agreement with 1199SEIU, which represents 400 workers at the Fulton County facilities.
Hospital spokesperson Cheryl McGrattan said the negotiations occurred over ten months. She said the end-result is a win for both the hospital and workers.
“It was swift and it really underscores how collaborative and fair the contract was,” said McGrattan.
The new four-year contract ensures wages, pensions and employer contributions to healthcare. The union represents about 40 percent of the hospital’s workforce. Union members voted in favor of the agreement on Monday.
Ward Clerk and SEIU negotiating committee member Melissa Tambasco is pleased with the new contract.
“Basically this contract, for us, is exactly what we needed. It gives us the stability to say ‘Okay, if I want to go to dinner this week, I can afford it and I don’t have to worry about this bill’s due, this bill’s due, and I can’t afford them.’”
Most importantly, she says, is that workers can ensure quality care for patients and residents.
Last December 1199SEIU members held a candlelit vigil in support of a new contract.
“We were at the point where we felt the employer didn’t understand how important obtaining this contract was to us, so the candlight vigil was what we needed to for them to honestly see that we were serious and this is what we needed.”
The new contract is effective until June 2019. Employees covered by the bargaining unit include licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants, lab and pharmacy technicians, diagnostic imaging services staff, and other technical and service employees.
While the hospital and 1199SEIU are celebrating the new contract and swift bargaining process, some nursing staff represented by another union are still without a contract. Workers represented by the New York State Nurses Association have been asking for a new contract for more than two years. In January, demonstrations were held after a strike and lockout.
Negotiations remain stalled. Again, Nathan Littauer spokeswoman Cheryl McGrattan.
“We remain hopeful that the union will reconsider and agree to our proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement.”
The New York State Nurses Association has
announced rallies in support of raising patient care standards, resolving staffing concerns, and providing fair wages at hospitals across upstate New York. A NYSNA representative could not be reached for comment in time for this broadcast.
Rallies are planned this Friday outside Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, and Oneida Healthcare in Oneida.