Labor Contract Is Ratified At Kaleida Health

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 20, 2011 at 9:18 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Labor Contract Is Ratified At Kaleida Health

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 20, 2011 at 9:18 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Tuesday, July 19, 2011- release) – Kaleida Health and the Communications Workers of America (CWA 1168), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE 17) and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have ratified the tentative labor contract agreement that was reached in June.

Voting by union members took place Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at the Hearthstone Manor in Cheektowaga.

“We are pleased to have a new master bargaining agreement with the unions that represent nearly 8,000 employees,” said James Kaskie, President and CEO of Kaleida Health. “The new contract is fair to employees and reflects the reality of the challenges that Kaleida Health is facing so that we can continue to meet the healthcare needs of the Western New York communities we serve with safe, quality patient care.”

The two-year contract will be in effect through May 31, 2013.

The groups began bargaining March 2, 2011 and through 44 negotiating sessions, reached tentative agreement on more than 120 articles and MOUs, including all economic and non-economic issues in the contract.

The original Master Bargaining Agreement between the parties expired on May 31, 2011. Needing additional time to reach agreement on a new contract, the parties agreed to two contract extensions, which ran through midnight, June 27, 2011.

HEALTHCARE WORKERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT WITH KALEIDA MANAGEMENT

Contract Protects Patients and Profession In Years Ahead

Buffalo – Tonight, healthcare workers from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, CWA, and IUOE, ratified a two year contract agreed to June 28th by the Union bargaining committee and Kaleida management. The contract was ratified by 1199 SEIU with 85% of the vote and CWA Local 1168 with 72% of the vote.

Statement from CWA Local 1168 President John Klein and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Vice President Jim Scordato:

“Tonight our members overwhelmingly voted to ratify our new two year contract. Throughout the last four months of negotiations with Kaleida management we focused on the need to protect high-quality patient care for Western New Yorkers. We believe that this hard fought contract protects our patients and profession in the years ahead.”

About CWA Local 1168

CWA Local 1168 has a long, proud history of standing together to protect and strengthen the Western New York health care system.

In 2007, an Albany Commission proposed to close and downsize nine health care facilities across the state. Western New York was hit hard, with Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, DeGraff Memorial, and St Joseph’s on the closure list. Western New York health care workers and their families rallied together and walked 300 miles in the month of January to the State Capital in Albany to pressure then-Governor Spitzer to reconsider the commission report. Without these efforts, the Commission would not have reversed its decision and kept DeGraff Memorial and St. Joseph Hospital open.

CWA Local 1168 is on the cutting edge of advancing patient care. Members recently persuaded Kaleida to invest in mechanical lifts, adjustable-height beds and other equipment to help avoid injuries while moving patients. Doing so has made patients safer and reduced the number of work days nurses lose from injuries, while at the same time saving the system millions of dollars over the last five years.

CWA Local 1168 was recognized as the Union representing a group of Registered Nurses at Buffalo General, after a two year organizing campaign back in 1982. The first bargaining committee left negotiations on May 1, 1983 and went on Strike till July 19, 1983, when they won their first contract. Nurses United became the unionized RN workforce at BGH.

Since then, CWA has grown to represent health care workers of all job titles throughout Western New York. Currently, the Local represents approximately 5,000 health care workers who work for several employers.

About 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

The Upstate Division of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the voice of health care employees in western, central, and northern New York State. The region includes more than 20,000 health care workers at 20 hospitals and over 45 nursing homes. Members of 1199SEIU's Upstate division work in 26 counties throughout Upstate New York from the Adirondacks to Niagara Falls, and include registered nurses, hospital workers, and nursing home workers.

Previously an independent SEIU local, the Upstate region voted in 2002 to merge with 1199SEIU to form a more powerful statewide healthcare union. The Upstate region has a history of successfully raising standards for health care workers through coordinated bargaining, reinforced by member mobilization.

Spearheading a massive campaign, Upstate workers—backed by the political influence of 1199SEIU—saved Children's Hospital of Buffalo after corporate owners scheduled the facility for closing. Subsequent to merging with 1199SEIU, the Upstate Division organized more than 2,000 new workers in only three years, and obtained higher wages and benefits for health care workers across the region. The most recent of many victories include improved contracts for workers at Strong Memorial Hospital and the University of Rochester.

About IUOE

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) is a progressive, diversified trade union that primarily represents operating engineers, who work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics, and surveyors in the construction industry, and stationary engineers, who work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes, and in the service industries. IUOE also represents nurses and other health industry workers, a significant number of public employees engaged in a wide variety of occupations, as well as a number of job classifications in the petrochemical industry.

This representation is the core of IUOE’s mission. From ensuring protections of prevailing wages on public projects, to alleviating healthcare costs through coalition building, to improving our contractors’ competitiveness, IUOE has and will continue to be tirelessly dedicated to the common interests of its members.

Founded in 1896, IUOE today has approximately 400,000 members in 123 local unions throughout the United States and Canada. IUOE is the 12th largest union in the AFL-CIO. Over 100 state-of-the-art training and apprenticeship programs ensure that IUOE members are the safest, most productive, and highly skilled craft workers.