POTSDAM — More than 200 Canton-Potsdam Hospital employees are planning to picket Friday morning to protest what they said was hospital management’s refusal to bargain over unaffordable health care insurance costs for employees.

Licensed practical nurses hospital technicians represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East are holding the protest from 3 to 6 p.m. at 50 Leroy St. in the village, according to a news release.

“The increases to our family health insurance premiums are unaffordable for most of us, they are even more than the raises we would get,” said Dana Thomas, a MRI Technologist at Canton Potsdam Hospital, in the release. “How can we ever get ahead if our entire wage increases have to go directly to our health insurance costs? We don’t want to move backward.”

Members of the union say in the release that since returning to the bargaining table, St. Lawrence Health System, currently in the processes of taking over Massena Hospital and granting them $8 Million, has refused to make any movement in order to reach a compromise with workers in the LPN and Tech bargaining unit.

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East represents over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Over 11,800 Nursing Home and Hospital workers in Western New York alone, according to the release. “Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all,” the release stated.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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