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Hospital employees seek federal mediator over labor impasse

Staff Reports Posted 21 February 2015 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Employee representatives at Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital have called for the intervention of a federal mediator in their ongoing labor negotiations with the facility’s management.

Negotiations for a new contract for 300 staff of OCH began in November. Open issues in the current talks include wages, benefits, and recognition at future locations of the Medina based organization, the union said.

To date, there have been 21 collective bargaining meetings, according to the employees’ union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The old contract expired Dec. 31, 2014 but its terms have been extended until the end of this month.

Frustrated with the pace of negotiations, employee members of the union’s negotiating committee have asked for the assistance of a Federal Mediator, union leaders said.

Involvement of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is required under federal labor law when labor negotiations affect the operations of a hospital. Although a federal mediator has been assigned to this negotiation, OCH management has thus far refused to cooperate with his involvement, union leaders said.

In 2012, a strike was narrowly averted in the “11th hour” with the help of a federal mediator.

Employees covered by the union contract include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and medical technicians, service maintenance and clerical employees.