U of R, URMC employees approve strike

UR, URMC workers vote to strike

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – By overwhelming majority, members of two unions at the University of Rochester and its medical center have approved a strike.

According to the unions, 99 percent of the voters who cast ballots did so in favor of striking. They belong to the 1199 SEIU and 200 United and are caregivers and service workers.

Their contracts expired in September. The workers say they want better wages and benefits and are concerned about staffing levels.

The unions must give the university and medical center 10-day notice of their intention to strike. The strike can last up to two days. Negotiations will resume on Nov. 28.

University of Rochester spokesperson Sara Miller issued the following statement today after the vote:

“The University of Rochester has been negotiating in good faith since late August with union representatives from 1199SEIU and 200United SEIU for a multi-year contract renewal that is competitive, fair, and equitable.  On Nov. 21, the 1199SEIU and 200United SEIU bargaining units held a strike vote, which passed, although the University has not received an intent to strike notice — a required 10-day advance notice of an intended strike. The University will continue to bargain in good faith towards a new contract and we remain optimistic that we can reach agreement on a renewal.

“As of today, University operations will continue as usual with staff reporting for work and performing their normal job duties. Should a strike occur, University of Rochester operations, including patient care at the Medical Center, will continue without disruption through the implementation of our contingency plans that will allow essential teaching, research and patient care activities to proceed. University officials are confident that in the event of a prolonged strike, campus operations will continue as normal without interruption, however they are always willing and prepared to meet at the bargaining table to continue to negotiate a fair and equitable contract. The University recognizes and respects 1199SEIU and 200United SEIU’s right to engage in a strike, which is a legally protected union activity.”

This is a developing story. News10NBC will provide updates as they become available.