For Immediate Release: Friday, April 7, 2017
Contact: Allison Krause: 315.679.6032 | Allison.Krause@1199.org

New agreements will help rural hospitals to recruit and retain staff and protect quality care for North Country communities.

Last week, hospital workers represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, at both Carthage Area Hospital and Gouverneur Hospital voted to approve new union contracts that include wage and benefit improvements that will result in better quality care for North Country residents. With threats to Medicaid funding putting rural hospitals at risk, union contracts provide stability for hospitals and protection for the communities that depend on them.

At Carthage Area Hospital 188 unit coordinators, housekeepers, dietary workers, technologists, nurses, and others from all areas of the hospital, unanimously ratified a contract that includes across the board wage increases and the addition of preceptor pay for anyone who trains another person. Important improvements were also made to contract language relating to low census, sick leave, and tuition assistance.

“This contract shows how valued all the members of 1199SEIU are to Carthage Area Hospital. Our dedication as healthcare workers to the mission of this hospital was recognized by management and rewarded by improvements to our contract,” said Dawn Slawson, a Licensed Practical Nurse in the OB Department at Carthage Area Hospital and a member of the 1199SEIU Bargaining Committee.

At Gouverneur Hospital 1199SEIU represents nearly 100 Certified Nurse Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Maintenance Workers, Technologists, and more who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new agreement that will raise some worker salaries by over 13% during the 3-year contract.

"Our unity is what gives us power to fight to ensure quality care for our patients. This new contract is certainly far better than what we’ve ever had before and it wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have our union," said Michele O'Donnell, Patient Representative at Gouverneur Hospital and 1199SEIU Delegate.

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1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.