POUGHKEEPSIE – Hospital employees at Vassar Brothers Medical Center (VBMC) in Poughkeepsie and Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel held informational pickets in front of both hospitals on Wednesday. Both hospitals are part of Nuvance Health.
The employees are members of Local 1199 SEIU and have been without a contract since October 1. VBMC employee Al Bruno is a member of the negotiating committee that has been meeting with management to get a new contract in place. He claims that Nuvance has been stalling the negotiations by not bargaining in good faith, leading to low morale among the staff.
“When we came to the table, it was more like they were trying to dictate it, not negotiate it and that is not acceptable to anybody,” he said. “In order for a safe contract, you need both sides to come to the table. They just weren’t there. While they have moved in great directions and we are going there, it should have bee closed off a long time ago.”
Bruno asserts that a shortage of staff that is placing patients at risk is due to the way Nuvance treats employees. “People used to want to work here. Now we can’t get people to apply because of the way Nuvance operates,” said the HVAC technician and seven-year employee.
The two sides were scheduled to return to the negotiating table, virtually, on Thursday.