Healthcare Business News

SEIU reaches tentative pact with N.Y. not-for-profit hospitals

By Melanie Evans
Posted: July 22, 2014 - 12:45 pm ET

The 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union reached a tentative four-year contract with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York.

The League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes is an association of 109 not-for-profit hospitals, nursing homes and affiliated facilities in the New York metropolitan area. The contract covers 70,000 healthcare workers, includes “organizing principles” for union elections in clinics and other settings outside hospitals and would boost wages, but reduce employers' pension contributions in the final years of the contract to offset the cost.

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The union and the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes still must formally approve the proposed deal. The union previously voted for a one-day strike at the end of the month, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Dave Bates, an SEIU spokesman, said healthcare is increasingly delivered outside of hospitals and as demand for ambulatory medical care grows, so will the number of jobs in those settings. The contract includes organizing protections as health systems build or acquire non-union clinics, he said.

Wages would increase by 13% through Oct. 1, 2017, and the contract would expire Sept. 30, 2018. Employer pension contributions would drop to 10% from 11.5% in October 2016 to offset two years of 3.5% wage hikes, up from 3% wage gains the prior two years.

Employers will continue to finance the union benefit fund with a contribution based on a percentage of payroll, but the contract will also set a maximum for employers’ per-worker contribution, Bates said. The maximum seeks to cap contributions that exceed workers’ healthcare costs for large employers with highly skilled, highly paid workers.

"This agreement demonstrates the strength of our commitment to work with 1199 SEIU and tackle some of the most complex issues facing the healthcare industry today,” Bruce McIver, League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes president, said in a news release announcing the tentative agreement. “In order to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape, each of us needs to make important compromises.”

Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans

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