Health

New York City Nursing Homes Deal With 33,000 Union Workers

Small said similar support for other nursing homes will be part of Hochul’s upcoming executive budget.

Neil Hayman, executive director of the Southern New York Association, which represents more than 60 healthcare providers in the metropolitan area, said the governor’s involvement in the collective bargaining process was unprecedented and noted that Hochul’s financial commitment sealed the deal.

Union officials have demanded a roughly 40% increase in health benefits funding to reflect the rise in union spending on health care during the pandemic, Hayman previously reported. Crain’s… Nursing home owners said they couldn’t afford such a big raise – at least not without government assistance.

Funding commitments, which the Hochul office and 1199SEIU did not mention in their agreement announcements, are intended to fill the gap. Hayman said nursing homes would collectively pay about 4.5% more to the health fund. Exact numbers have yet to be determined as stakeholders finalize contracts.

The agreement provides for a 3.5% salary increase in the first year of the contract and 3% in each of the next two years, as well as a $ 1,500 bonus to be paid in January. Other changes include the addition of June as paid leave and new wording to add protected work status for members with 10 or more years of employment, and to discuss future bonuses during public health emergencies.

The terms apply to two separate contracts that collectively cover nearly 33,000 nursing home staff. Both have a start date of October 1, which means workers will receive wage increases retroactively, Hayman said. He said the union and nursing homes had previously discussed $ 3,000 bonuses and smaller annual wage increases. They agreed on an ongoing agreement, which he said is roughly the same amount, so the money will be spread over time.

The union said all but one nursing home – the 134-bed Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center in Orange County – had signed a contract, prompting 48 staff at the facility to go on strike Wednesday.

Owner Jerry Wood, who said he is negotiating on his own behalf and not within one of the blocks of the nursing home industry, said the union did not invite him to negotiate. He added that he had not seen a copy of the preliminary agreement.

“It’s hard to sign a contract that wasn’t presented to me,” Wood said. “They didn’t even try to negotiate with me.”

He said he would agree to an annual percentage increase in wages if the wage rates of his nursing home were used as the denominator, rather than the rates for workers in the five boroughs. He said he also supports the $ 1,500 premium and increased funding for health benefits.

George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, said the union has a strong contract that recognizes the sacrifices made by nursing home workers during the pandemic.

“From a pay raise to a bonus in hand, workers can rest better knowing that their efforts are not just marked with banners outside of their factories and catered meals, but with the respect and dignity they deserve as heroes,” Gresham said in a statement. … …

Contractual agreements are awaiting ratification by 1199 SEIU members.

1199SEIU represents approximately 325,000 healthcare professionals across the state, including 65,000 nursing home staff.

This story first appeared in our sister publication Crain’s New York Business.


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