July 20--MEDINA -- Workers at Medina Memorial Hospital overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract Thursday, winning pay raises and a new health insurance plan.
Bruce Popper, chief negotiator for Local 1199, Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers East, said 148 union members cast ballots, and the outcome was "nearly unanimous."
The deal, reached July 10 after 30 bargaining sessions, averted a one-day strike the union had called for July 13. A federal mediator presided over most of the talks.
Popper said the contract gives workers a 2 percent raise retroactive to the beginning of this year; another 2 percent in January; and 1 percent each in January 2014 and July 2014.
In addition, nurses maintained their current shift differentials and other workers saw increases in that category. For the lowest-paid members, the differentials will add 25 cents per hour to their pay.
On health coverage, a high-deductible plan will continue to be the base offering, although the deductible was cut from $2,000 a year for singles and $4,000 for families to $1,800 a year for singles and $3,600 for families.
However, the hospital will set up a health reimbursement account that will pay half of the deductibles. Popper said for most members, that means they will end up paying no deductibles at all. He said the hospital will continue to pay 90 percent of premiums for single coverage and 75 percent for family coverage.
Hospital CEO James Sinner could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
SEIU has 304 active members at Orleans Community Health, the entity that owns the hospital, a nursing home and an outpatient clinic in Orleans County.
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