POTSDAM — Citing an increase in health insurance premiums, LPNs and techs at Canton-Potsdam Hospital have rejected a tentative contract agreement that had been reached with management.
More than 240 workers represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, voted on the contract July 10.
The union reported in its news release, while providing no details, that the health insurance increase would erase wage increases in the contract.
The union further stated that since returning to the bargaining table, the hospital has not budged on its contract proposal.
Registered nurses, represented by the New York State Nurses Association, have reportedly agreed to a new contract this year, but in November, they held an informational picket regarding their contract negotiations and cited healthcare premiums as a major sticking point.
No details of the nurses contract have been released, but at the time of negotiations, Robin Hilyard, a registered nurse and president of Canton-Potsdam Hospital bargaining team, said that healthcare at the hospital had always been too expensive, especially the family healthcare plan.
Ms. Hilyard said many of the nurses did not use the hospital’s family plan due to its expense.
In the Friday press release from 1199SEIU, Dana Thomas, an MRI technologist, is quoted 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.”
The union pointed out in its release that the negotiations are going in with the takeover of Massena Memorial Hospital by St. Lawrence Health System, the parent company of Canton-Potsdam Hospital, in the background.
Part of the takeover plan is an $8 million payment to Massena Memorial.