UR Medicine Home Care workers vote to organize

UR Medicine Home Care workers vote to organize

University of Rochester Medicine Home Care workers have voted in favor of a union. Some 115 professional home care workers at the unit voted to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

URMHC includes UR Medicine’s nonprofit, Medicare-certified home health care agencies, licensed home care agencies and hospice programs. Approximately 400 people work at URMHC and provide services for patients in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

Union officials say URMHC professional home care workers are the first and unique type of job category to vote to join a labor union. These workers help patients transition back to their homes after a hospital stay, providing nursing care, physical, occupational, speech therapy, medical and social work services.

“Our work in home care is very fulfilling but can also be challenging.  We work directly with patients and their families on personalized plans to meet their needs and goals. I’m proud to be involved with my coworkers at URMHC in forming our union with 1199SEIU,” says Cindy Lorenzetti, who has been a physical therapy assistant for more than 30 years. “We will now have the power to make changes for the betterment of our patients and for all dedicated professionals working in the home care field.”

Dave Simon, another longtime physical therapist, brings attention to the challenges of working in health care.

“Reimbursement rates change, causing a rise in expectations and demands for our type of work. Together in our union we will work to ensure our voices are listened to and our family and work life balance is respected,” he says.

According to the union, these workers will begin negotiating their first labor contract with the University of Rochester soon.

“In a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a small subset of staff at UR Medicine Home Care, have voted by majority to be represented by 1199 SEIU. The certification of the election is pending with the NLRB. We fully support the right of our staff to decide whether to be represented by a union and respect the outcome of this election. Our employees at UR Medicine Home Care are among the best. Our focus now is to move forward together to continue delivering innovative and compassionate care to our patients,” UR Medicine said in a statement.

Last year, some 1,600 home health aides, personal care attendants and consumer directed personal attendants, employed by Community Care Companions, voted to join 1199SEIU. More than 600 of those home care workers live in Upstate New York with approximately 400 in Rochester, union officials say.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

Originally Appeared Here