(Lockport, NY) – Registered nurses employed by Eastern Niagara Hospital at its Lockport site have authorized their negotiating committee to set a strike deadline. Balloting took place in a series of well attended meetings held yesterday. The union is polling its remaining membership, a process expected to be concluded within the next few days.
Nine hours of negotiations on Wednesday failed to make significant progress toward a settlement. The nurses and management are at odds over changes proposed in the hospital's retirement plan, the cost of health insurance, wages, and future employment opportunities at ENH 's offsite locations.
The current agreement expired March 31 and has been extended on a day-to-day basis while negotiations continued. A Federal Mediator entered the talks in late May. There have been fifteen major bargaining sessions to date. Nurses held a protest and picketed the hospital on July 12.
The registered nurses are members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. 1199SEIU also represents registered nurses and other staff at Medina Memorial Hospital, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and at several dozen other hospitals and nursing homes in Western New York.
Eastern Niagara Hospital, Inc.’s Lockport Memorial division operates a 134 bed inpatient facility located at 521 East Avenue, Lockport, NY as well as diagnostic imaging, medical laboratory, and ambulatory health care services in the community.