CMH and union reach contract deal

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

HUDSON – Columbia Memorial Health and a union representing more than 800 of its 1,400 workers have reached a contract agreement after seven months of negotiating.

Both 1199SEIU and the Hudson-based health system praised the agreement.

“Our dialogue with the union was consistently productive and we feel we came to a mutually beneficial contract agreement,” according to a statement from the hospital. “We are confident that the new contract is fair to our employees and responsive to the complex demands of providing high-quality health care services.”

The union praised the new contract’s inclusion of a process for addressing safe staffing levels and a provision that allows workers to continue to have union representation in the event of a subsequent merger or affiliation with another health institution.

Columbia Memorial Health, parent of Columbia Memorial Hospital, became officially affiliated with Albany Medical Center this year. The new partnership had raised the union’s concerns about job security and maintaining collective bargaining throughout the health system.

“Albany Med is vociferously anti-union,” 1199 spokeswoman Mindy Berman said in an email.

Albany Med didn’t react to the union’s statement but confirmed it has no employees who are unionized.

The contract, retroactive to January 1 and through 2019, raises pay by 6.5 percent by the end of the contract and limits workers’ share of health-care costs to a 6 percent increase over the same period. The pact also protects jobs from being subcontracted for more than 18 months, according to the union.

The union represents 207 registered nurses and 612 direct caregivers, professional and technical workers, and service and maintenance employees at the hospital.

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