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1199 SEIU reaches agreement with CMH to increase some worker pay rates

May 15, 2022 12:45 am

Noah Eckstein is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the union representing workers at Columbia Memorial Health announced May 13, it had reached an agreement with CMH to increase pay rates for registered nurses, patient care assistants, and respiratory therapists. The agreement was reached following a meeting this week between the union and hospital representatives. Local 1199 of the Service Employee International Union represents all workers at Columbia Memorial, except physicians. Beginning May 16, the base rate for registered nurses and respiratory therapists will increase by $5 per hour, according to union representatives. Patient care assistants will receive a $2.50 per hour raise, making their new base rate $16 per hour. Mindy H. Berman, the union’s regional communications director, said first-year registered nurses will make $33.20 per hour, and nurses who have been working for 10 years will make $45.45 per hour. More senior patient care assistants will be paid about $18 per hour. “This is a win, but it is not over,” said Greg Speller, executive vice president of the Hudson Valley region for 1199 Service Employee International Union, United Healthcare Workers East. “It is a very sad fact that the 1199 members and their community allies were dragged by the hospital over the staffing crisis — we haven’t had to do that with other hospitals we’ve dealt with.” Approximately 660 CMH employees are members of 1199, down from 850 members two years ago. The Hudson Common Council unanimously voted April 19 to support the health care workers in the contract fight. Hospital staff, during a public meeting on April 11, described working conditions, low pay and understaffing at CMH. Speller said even with the higher wages getting by will be hard for the hospital’s workers. The union has provided three more dates for meetings to discuss pay increases for other health care workers at CMH. “It is about other folks who play really essential roles at the hospital like mental health assistants, the emergency department, licensed radiology technicians, and more,” Speller said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.