Hospitals workers union pushes for fat pay hikes amid COVID

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The powerful hospital workers’ union is pushing for big pay hikes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and might even go on strike to get the raise, sources told The Post.

The contract that Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union has with more than 80 hospitals and nursing homes in and around the city expires on Sept. 30.

The union is requesting 23 percent increase over three years — or more than 7 percent per year, hospital sources told The Post

The total cost of the proposals including benefits is $3.6 billion, hospital insiders said.

The current three-year contract provides salary increases of 3 percent each year for three years, or 9 percent.

Health care workers — hailed as heroes during the worst of the COVID-19 — believe they deserve generous pay and benefits.

Some union activists are even talking about going on strike, if necessary, to win big pay days.

“We need to be united in this fight!! Please get this out to all our leaders and contract captains. Let the strike begin,” one union activist at Montefiore Hospital said.

“I’ve been saving this day. My contract means that much!!!.”

Hospital workers part of the Service Employees International Union hope to negotiate an annual three percent increase in their salaries.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The bellicose talk comes as a longtime union and hospital industry ally — Gov. Andrew Cuomo — is stepping down after a withering state investigative report concluded he sexually harassed 11 women. In 2018, Cuomo raised Medicaid reimbursement rates so hospitals could cover the costs of salary increases.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul becomes acting governor in 11 days. The last thing she needs is labor strife, particularly a strike.

A Hospital executive called the strike threat during the pandemic and high wage demand “lunacy.”

NY regional hospitals lost about $1 billion in 2020, even after accounting for $4 billion in federal aid, sources said.

A League of Voluntary Hospitals spokesman said, “Health care workers have displayed incredible bravery and professionalism serving on the front lines of this pandemic, and we are proud to offer wages and benefits that recognize their contributions while providing our patients the best health care in the world. We are committed to bargaining in good faith with the union to reach our shared goal: an agreement that is fair, reasonable, and responsible for all of us.”

SEIU 1199 president George Gresham responded, “We are early in negotiations and look forward to receiving proposals from the League that reflect the enormous sacrifices 1199SEIU healthcare heroes have made and are still making to save the lives of their fellow NYers.”

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