Page 7 - Work Force September 2021
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Members of HRI locals approve contract
More than 1,400 CSEA members employed by Health Research Inc. (HRI) recently overwhelmingly
approved a new contract with HRI management.
HRI workers, who are private sector, work at health facilities throughout New York and conduct important research in collaboration with the state Department of Health and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. CSEA members employed at HRI are covered under two locals:
HRI — Albany Division, which
covers members in the Capital and Metropolitan Regions and Health Research Inc. (Buffalo), which covers HRI employees based at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute campus.
The HRI members’ new three- year contract includes percentage wage increases each year of the agreement, and a big win in getting management to pick up more of their health insurance premium costs this year, which is a big savings for the workers.
Due largely to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, negotiations were
“This was one of
our most difficult negotiations,”
said HRI-Albany Division Local President Deborah Hanna. “It was
Frasier said. “While we didn’t get everything we wanted, we did
walk away with more money in our member’s pockets and we did not lose benefits. Every gain is a positive thing.”
“Our negotiating team is made
up of members that get the same contract benefits,” said Nancy Davidson, HRI-Albany Division Local Treasurer. “We put our energy into getting the best possible deal with lots of input from our members.
It is hard work, but worth it when we maximize benefits and improve salaries!”
Despite the challenges of virtual negotiations, union members still not only won a fair contract, but strengthened the local.
“It was not easy, but we did win
a good contract that maximized the take-home pay for our members with salary increases over the three- year contract and the first year, we have an increase in management’s contribution to health insurance premiums,” Hanna said. “In the
end, we have a good contract and
connected the Albany and Roswell Park Divisions to present a unified front to management to win a good contract!”
Members of both locals were very excited about the contract.
“For so many years, whatever our raises were never felt like one because health insurance premiums also increased each year and took a big bite out of salary,” said Corleta Cummings, a Health Research
Inc. (Buffalo) Local member. “I am so appreciative to our union for what they have done in this recent contract negotiations to help employees take home a little
more pay.”
The workers also strengthened their union.
“Due to all these factors, we have a stronger, more involved local and a contract that maximized the take- home pay for our members which
is a win at the end of a year with our membership working above and beyond to stop COVID,” Hanna said.
— Therese Assalian
 a challenge on
so many levels.
Not only were
our negotiations virtual with management, but we conducted member contract surveys virtually, held contract status meetings virtually, used a virtual survey platform to reinforce our message with member support at the negotiating table and finally conducted
 the contract ratification process virtually.”
“This contract was tougher than usual,” Health Research Inc. (Buffalo) Local President Jeffrey
 CSEA members demand respect from village management
FREDONIA — CSEA members are demanding respect from Village of Fredonia officials in light of recent incidents that have undermined village employees and union representatives, including anti- union text messages sent by a village trustee.
The messages, sent to a village employee, demonstrated hostile sentiments that were affecting labor-management relations and prove a pattern of harassment and antagonism toward CSEA members and representatives.
Among those targeted in one text message by the trustee was CSEA Village of Fredonia Unit President K.C. Christopher.
CSEA members employed by the village, union staff and several allies from the local labor council
recently packed a village board of trustees meeting to voice concerns about recent unprofessional conduct by village officials.
CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Jill Ackerman, who addressed the board during the public forum sessions, discussed the overt anti- union text messages by the trustee. She noted that there recently
there have also been several
other documented incidents of retribution and intimidation by village officials.
Christopher and Ackerman
noted that they, as well as unit members, understand the village board is going through a transition period, but emphasized the recent unprofessional behaviors of elected officials and management personnel must end.
“The residents and all stakeholders who care about village services need
to know what is going on here,” Christopher said. “This dysfunction is interfering
with our daily operations.”
good government and want to get back to focusing on the business of serving the residents of this community.”
Christopher, a motor equipment operator at the village, said he
and other unit members will continue to hold their elected officials accountable and voice their concerns while continuing to deliver exceptional public services.
“We know the residents of
the village appreciate what we unionized employees do and the level of professionalism we exhibit,” Christopher said. “Nothing will deter us from doing our job the best way we know how, notwithstanding the disrespect and indifference coming from some of our village officials.”
— Ove Overmyer
 “We are here today to present these facts with the hope that whatever issues exist today can be rectified tomorrow,” Ackerman said during the June 28 board meeting at which she addressed trustees. “Rather than filing legal charges, flooding you with paperwork and bringing high costs from legal fees, we are searching for partners in
 September 2021
The Work Force 7

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