CSEA members ratify historic contract with Health Research Inc.


CSEA members employed at Health Research Inc. (HRI) overwhelmingly ratified a tentative agreement with the employer.

Our union members’ landslide vote to ratify the contract shows union solidarity. The tentative contract is historic because it focuses strongly on worker recruitment and retention through economic gains and noneconomic improvements that benefit both the workers and the employer.

The agreement covers more than 1,700 union members in New York City, Albany and Buffalo who work within the state Department of Health, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and other public health entities across New York State on vital public health projects.


“Through work we do at HRI, we provide a valuable public service to the state of New York,” said HRI Albany Division Local President Deborah Hanna, whose local also includes New York City-based workers. “This landslide vote from our membership demonstrates our strength and commitment to a contract with economic gains and noneconomic improvements reflective of our work, dedication and experience.”

The new, four-year contract took effect on April 1, 2024, and will run through March 31, 2028.

This landmark agreement includes wage increases totaling 16.5 percent over the four-year span (4%, 4%, 5%, 3.5%).

Also included are two lump-sum bonuses totaling $2,000; $1,000 payable in October 2024 if on payroll at time of ratification and $1,000 payable in April 2025 if still on payroll at the time of the bonus payment.

As of January 2025, HRI will now pay 70% of the annual premium cost of the workers’ health insurance and CSEA represented employees will never pay more than 30% of the annual premium cost. Prior to this, HRI capped their contribution.

Employees who are based downstate will have their salary increased by $4,000 per year as part of the adjustment to defer the higher cost of living.

The group also negotiated increased individual employee allotment per year, up to $3,000 for tuition reimbursement and expanded reimbursement language can now include books and allowable fees in addition to tuition. Steps and career ladder and longevity payments also remain intact from the previous contract.

The new agreement also includes increases to annual sick leave credits for employees with annual sick leave balances of 375 hours or more, and the continuation of a vacation buyback program.

The contract also includes non-economic protections that included data privacy, protection and security; added language around the event of a public emergency and continuation of the telecommuting program.

“Our success is the power of collective bargaining in action,” said HRI Buffalo Division Local President Debbie Bradley. “We listened to the members, brought a solid contract proposal to the table that looked out for our members’ best interests and heavily focused on recruitment and retention while addressing the unique time we are living in post- COVID, affected by inflation and steep rising cost of living. At times, it was tense and challenging, but always respectful and civil. It was an amazing experience to be able to fight for the best deal and to obtain a ‘family strong’ contract for our union’s amazing members.”

— Jill Asencio


About Author

Jill Asencio is the statewide communications specialist assigned to CSEA Headquarters in Albany. She is a summa cum laude graduate of The College of Saint Rose and award-winning photo/video journalist and public relations professional. As part of CSEA’s communication team since 2007, she found her passion in labor, advocating for children and New York’s working families. Asencio understands first-hand the value of growing up in a union household and the deep connection unions have in ensuring strong, educated and healthy families.

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