Union calls Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s new contract offer ‘insulting’

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - The latest contract offer to workers at Canton-Potsdam Hospital is called “lackluster” and “insulting” by union leaders.

It’s a contract that affects 580 workers.

Local 1199 Upstate of the Service Employees International Union is negotiating with the hospital for a new 3-year deal.

The last contract expired at the end of June but has been extended to August 4 after 8 bargaining sessions have resulted in no deal. Union leaders say up until Thursday’s meeting, the hospital has offered a new contract with no raises.

On Thursday, that changed when the hospital offered a one percent pay raise each year for 3 years.

Union leaders say during the pandemic their workers, which include service, maintenance, clerical, and licensed practical nurses, didn’t get any significant pay increase other than a minimum salary of $15 an hour or an 85-cent an hour raise.

“It’s up to management. We want to work with them. No one wants to strike. We don’t want that for the patients or the employees, but nothing is off the table as management continues to come with these lackluster and honestly insulting proposals,” said Xavier Eddy, the union’s lead negotiator.

The union points out it has reached deals with hospitals in Plattsburgh and Malone where workers are getting a 3 or 4 percent raise. With Canton-Potsdam, the union says it’s also asking to move to a pension program instead of a 403(b), which is like a 401(k) plan.

It wants more paid holidays other than the 4 they get right now.

One Canton-Potsdam LPN, who is on the negotiating team, is both angry and sad with what the hospital is offering.

“It doesn’t even address the cost of living concerns. Prices of everything have skyrocketed. I don’t know how they can think that we can take care of families as we are busting our behinds supporting the community and helping patients with one percent. One percent is nothing. It’s change. I feel like we’ve been left in the dark and we’re expected to work our tails off for this place with nothing in return,” said Tina Bender.

The hospital issued the following statement: “We are focusing on our discussions at the bargaining table because that is where our collective solutions are found. At this point in time, any attempt to surmise the negotiations as a whole, or focus on a single step outside of the whole, would be a fated thought experiment. Canton-Potsdam Hospital will continue to negotiate in good faith, and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.”

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