Auburn Community Hospital health care workers approved a new contract ending almost a year of negotiations.
AFSCME Local 3124 on Tuesday announced in a press release that its members at ACH overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new union contract.
The union said the new agreement creates "contractual language for the health insurance plan, ensuring that management cannot take away coverage or increase out-of-pocket expenses without first negotiating the impact with the Union."
The new contract provides annual wage increases, a new weekend pay differential and will benefit more than 300 union employees – including certified nurses assistants, personal care aides, food service workers, cleaners, and mechanics – at Auburn Community Hospital and the Finger Lakes Center for Living.
“Since negotiations began last fall, it’s been our priority to protect our health coverage by including it in our collective bargaining agreement," said Maureen Coleman, president of AFSCME Local 3124 and a respiratory therapist at ACH. "This will require ACH to negotiate the impact of any future changes to its employees’ health plan with us.”
The union said when the last contract expired in January, management unilaterally increased the deductible for the health care plan from $1,500 to $1,700 ($3,000 to $3,400 for family plans).
The union expressed its support for two informational pickets to rally the community that included Allied workers from the Cayuga County Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and elected officials from the city of Auburn and Cayuga County.
“We’re incredibly grateful for everyone who stood by us,” Coleman said in the press release. “This hospital and the people who work here are important assets to this community. While this agreement is a big step forward, we’ll continue to use our collective voice to raise concerns because patients and residents deserve the very best level of care.”