Strike vote set for Kaleida workers

Jun 6, 2013

Workers for the region's largest healthcare provider could be walking a picket line soon. A strike authorization vote has been scheduled for employees of Kaleida Health.

Kaleida's 7,000 employees will have the chance to vote on the work stoppage next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The workers are represented by three unions and between them, 1199 SEIU Vice President James Scordato says they represent every job in Kaleida's facilities.

"The last thing we want to do is have a strike of the system. We would prefer to work out a fair agreement with Kaleida for our members and for the community. That is the best case scenario all around," Scordato says.

After sitting down more than 30 times, the two sides remain far apart over wages, working conditions, and staffing. CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini, a registered nurse, says employees made concessions and took a wage freeze to help Kaleida out of its financial problem two years ago.  

"The problem is that Kaleida continues to invest in basically building their buildings. The Gates Vascular Institute, the new Children's Hospital, remodeling everything, and they're not investing in their staff at this point," Gambini says.

Gambini says healthcare workers are "extremely angry at Kaleida management." But she says the goal is to get back to the table and negotiate contract fair to both sides. If approved, the soonest workers could strike is June 21.

A call seeking comment from Kaleida was not returned.