Union rejects contract with Canton-Potsdam Hospital

Union rejects contract with Canton-Potsdam Hospital
(Source: 7 News photo)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - The union representing 240 healthcare workers at Canton-Potsdam Hospital has rejected a tentative agreement with management.

That’s according to a statement from 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, late Friday afternoon. According to the statement, licensed practical nurses and techs rejected the agreement back on July 10.

The statement offers no details on what was in the agreement, but quotes a union member, Dana Thomas, as saying "The increases to our family health insurance premiums are unaffordable for most of us, they are even more than the raises we would get.

“How can we ever get ahead if our entire wage increases have to go directly to our health insurance costs? We don’t want to move backward.”

The press release from the union also references Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s pending takeover of Massena Memorial Hospital, in which Canton-Potsdam Hospital is providing $8 million to Massena Memorial.

The press release quotes another union member as saying “If Canton-Potsdam Hospital can afford to give $8 million to them, surely they are able to provide affordable family health insurance and cost of living raises for the dedicated employees that have been here all along.”

The hospital issued a brief response, which did not address the specific issues raised by the union.

“As in the past, St. Lawrence Health System has agreed to not disclose any details of our negotiations with the 1199SEIU," Jeremy Slaga, Chief Administrative Officer for St. Lawrence Health System, the hospital’s parent organization, said in an email to 7 News.

"The health system is unequivocal in its belief that our skilled and dedicated LPNs and Techs are valued employees and vital members of our community.”

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