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Workers at URMC and the UR River Campus vote overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract

SEIU union members who work as patient caregivers and service workers at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Strong Memorial Hospital participated in a 17 hour long strike Wednesday after failing to reach a contract with the hospital. (photo by Max Schulte)
Max Schulte
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WXXI News
SEIU union members who work as patient caregivers and service workers at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Strong Memorial Hospital participated in a 17 hour long strike Dec. 13, 2023. On Dec. 27, they overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract.

Union workers at the University of Rochester and Strong Memorial Hospital have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract. The new agreement affects more than 1,800 patient caregivers and student service workers. 

That’s according to information released Wednesday night by 1199SEIU at the hospital and SEIU Local 200 United at the University of Rochester River campus. 

Tracey Harrison led the bargaining sessions as 1199SEIU Vice President. 

“I think that our members are very excited,” said Harrison. “Finally, the employer has shown up to be the employer that we know that they can be. And that is to address the needs of their staff. “ 

Harrison added that, “folks can look at this, and put it in the rearview mirror and go on with their lives and have a living wage and good quality benefits. So they can take care of themselves and their families.” 

According to the unions, the three-year contract includes general wage increases of more than 18%, including pay that is retroactive to Sept. 23. Labor officials said that with the higher wages and quality benefits they expect the contract will help the university and hospital retain and recruit more workers to address staffing concerns across URMC. 

Robyn Wilcox Davis is a cook helper on the UR River Campus. She said the journey was all worth it. 

"Because we got to get our members what they needed,” said Davis, “We got to get people at least to a cost of living and to be able to enjoy their families more and not run their bodies into the ground just to make ends meet." 

A tentative agreement was reached last week, and that agreement followed an earlier one day strike. 

The new contract, ratified on Wed. night, runs through Sept. 5, 2026.

 

 

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.