The new pact heralded by both sides for fairness and employee protections
March 15, 2016
Four hundred healthcare workers at Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home in Gloversville, New York who are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have a new collective bargaining agreement. Monday, March 14 the members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the union agreement.
The ratification vote took place after eight months of negotiations.
“The end result is an agreement that is fair to both sides,” stated Laurence E. Kelly, Nathan Littauer’s President and CEO.
1199SEIU Vice President Rosa Lomuscio said, “We came into the process with the goal of securing good wages and affordable health and pension benefits, and after a long haul, we succeeded. Negotiating is never easy, especially when people’s livelihoods are at stake. The most important thing to remember is the connection between the well-being of healthcare workers and quality care. That makes this agreement a win for everyone — the hospital, the workers, our patients and in the end the entire community.”
1199SEIU represents 40 percent of the hospital’s total workforce.
“From the beginning, this was a real collaboration,” explained Lana E. Wydra, PHR, SHRM-CP and Vice President of Human Resources for Littauer. “Each negotiating session was a true working group – committed to working together towards a reasonable contract. We rolled up our sleeves and shared common goals. In the end, we hammered out a contract that is equitable and fair.” She concluded, “I am proud of the outcome because it honors all of our employees and our broader patient mission.”
Today, the two sides announced a final four-year agreement. The new contract provides for increases in base wages, plus increased pension and health insurance contributions by the hospital and the employees. The new contract is effective to June 30, 2019.
Littauer employees covered by the bargaining unit are technical and service employees, including licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, environmental services, nutritional services, lab and pharmacy technicians, diagnostic imaging services, engineering staff and others.
“This is an impressive accomplishment,” said Mr. Kelly. He went on to say, “We’ve reached a very good contract, with very good employees. These negotiations have proved Littauer and its employees can adapt to the ever-changing workforce and move forward with confidence.”
Melissa Tambasco, an 1199SEIU negotiating committee member and Ward Clerk at the hospital said, “This contract is about economic security for me. It’s not easy to make ends meet at home anymore. Knowing that I have affordable health insurance, guaranteed wages increases and a pension for my future is a big relief. When I go to work, I want to be fully present for my patients and their families — not worrying about paying the next bill.”
That sentiment is echoed by 1199SEIU negotiating team member and Littauer Printer, Charles B. Pettit III. “Negotiations went nicely and we’re glad it’s settled.” Mr. Pettit added, “We were happy to work together to reach an agreement in a reasonable time.”
ABOUT 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-¬growing healthcare union in the nation, with over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union. 1199SEIU’s mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. For more information please visit www.1199seiu.org.
ABOUT Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home
Nathan Littauer Hospital and Family of Health Services serves Fulton, Montgomery, and Hamilton counties in upstate New York with a full-service, 74-bed acute care hospital, nine primary care centers, a nursing home and a community education center. The hospital was founded in 1894 and has 1,000 employees. For more information, please visit www.nlh.org.