Small said that similar support for other nursing homes will be part of Hochul’s upcoming executive budget.
Neil Hyman, CEO of the Southern New York Association, which represents more than 60 professional nursing organizations in the metropolitan area, said the governor’s participation in the collective bargaining process was unprecedented and attributed Hochl’s financial commitment to the deal.
Hyman had previously stated that union officials had requested an increase of about 40% in medical welfare funds to reflect the increase in medical care expenditures of members during the pandemic. Crane’sThe owners of the nursing home said they could not afford such a large increase—at least without state aid.
Hochul’s office and 1199SEIU did not mention funding commitments in their agreement announcements, aiming to bridge the gap. Hyman said that the nursing home will jointly pay about 4.5% of the cost to the health fund. As stakeholders finalize the contract, the exact number is still being determined.
The agreement provides for a 3.5% salary increase in the first year of the contract, a 3% salary increase each year for the next two years, and a $1,500 bonus in January. Other changes include the use of June Day as a paid holiday and a new language, the addition of a protected work status for members who have worked for 10 years, and the negotiation of future bonuses in public health emergencies.
These terms apply to two separate contracts, which together cover nearly 33,000 nursing home employees. Hyman said that both start dates are October 1, which means that workers will receive a retrospective salary increase. He said the union and the nursing home had previously discussed a $3,000 bonus and a small annual salary increase. They agreed with the current arrangements, and he said these factors are roughly the same, so funds will be dispersed over time.
The union stated that only one nursing home—the 134-bed Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center in Orange County—had signed an agreement, prompting 48 employees of the facility to strike on Wednesday.
The owner, Jerry Wood, said he negotiated on behalf of himself rather than as part of one of the nursing home industry groups. He said the union did not invite him to the negotiation meeting. He added that he did not see a copy of the provisional agreement.
“It’s difficult to sign a contract that they didn’t submit to me,” Wood said. “They didn’t even try to negotiate with me.”
He said that if the wage rate of his nursing home was used as the denominator instead of the wage rate of workers in the five administrative districts, he would agree to an annual percentage increase in wages. He said he also approves of the $1,500 bonus and increased health benefit funding.
1199SEIU President George Gresham (George Gresham) said that the union was awarded a strong contract acknowledging the sacrifice of nursing home staff during the pandemic.
Gresham said in a statement: “From a salary increase to a bonus on hand, workers can have a better rest, because their efforts are not only recognized by the banners outside the factory and the lunch provided, but also won by them as heroes. Respect and dignity.”.
The contract agreement is now awaiting approval from the 1199SEIU members.
1199SEIU represents approximately 325,000 health care workers across the state, including 65,000 nursing home employees.