More than 1,000 Albany Med workers seek to unionize

More than 1,000 employees at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center seek to unionize, following in the footsteps of Albany's nurses who voted to unionize in 2018, according to the Times Union.

The workers include custodial staff, cafeteria workers, patient care associates and lab techs. They seek to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, which has 400,000 members throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Employees told the Times Union they are struggling to pay bills with the wages they make and have seen their healthcare costs continue to rise. Workers say they don't think their situation will improve unless they join a union. 

The effort comes about a year after nurses at Albany Medical Center voted to join the New York State Nurses Association. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo got involved in the effort in March 2018 and called on the New York State Department of Labor to investigate the union's complaints of threatening and coercive behavior at the hospital. According to the Times Union, negotiations are still ongoing between nurses and the hospital over a labor deal.

Albany Medical Center spokesperson Jeffrey Gordon told the publication June 4 that the hospital values workers and tries to provide circumstance that allow them to support themselves and their families "while balancing the financial pressures facing every hospital in the country."

"We are committed to working with our employees to create the best hospital possible for both our employees and our patients and their families, and continuing to invest in the technologies and facilities needed to provide our region with a level of care typically found only in major cities," he said.


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