Contract between URMC and union expires without an agreement
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The contract between the University of Rochester Medical Center and the caregivers and service union 1199 SEIU expired at midnight on Tuesday without an agreement.
11099 SEIU Local 200 represent just about everyone other than doctors and nurses, from secretaries to janitors to shipping and receiving staff. Members of 1199 have already authorized the union to give 10 days’ notice of an informational picket if negotiations continue to fail. After that, union members may vote on whether or not to strike.
This is happening a week after nurses at Rochester General Hospital ratified their first contract.
Since late August, University of Rochester leadership has met with representatives of 1199 SEIU and 200 SEIU 23 times. 1199 SEIU which represents the medical center, and 200 SEIU, which represents the college, are working together for one contract.
Members of the bargaining committee say that they’re fighting for a livable wage and a quality benefits package. Patient care technician, April Shephard says she’s been working for the medical center for twenty years and makes under $20 an hour.
“I work two jobs, I shouldn’t have to work two jobs when I work for one of the largest facilities, and I’m making bare minimum. My mortgage is higher than what I’m getting paid right now, so it’s like we gotta do better. They have to do better.”
She and other patient care technicians assist nurses and doctors through things like checking vitals, caring for bedridden patients, and overseeing medication.
“You’re getting disrespected, you’re getting stuff thrown at you, feces, one of the nurses got spit on yesterday. It’s just a lot that goes on and they don ‘t see it because they’re in an office,” said Shephard.
Representatives from both unions say that they are understaffed. and part of the problem is starting wages are at $15.45 an hour.
“They have this quote, we care, show us you care. Give us that decent contract that we are asking for. Today is that day to do so,” said Wendell Broadhurst, environmental service worker.
“The end goal is not to have an informational picket or a strike, it’s to get a contract, so that our folks can have what they need for themselves and their family,” Tracey Harrison, VP of 1199 SEIU said.