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Lawrence Hospital Workers Picket, Call For New Contract

Union members at New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital sought to bring attention to their lack of a contract on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Contributed
Union members picketed outside New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199 who work at New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville were out on the sidewalk with signs Tuesday, holding an information picket to highlight their struggle for a contract and the connection to patient care. 

The union represents workers in a variety of service-related fields, including health-care workers and fast-food workers.

An informational picket is not a strike. Participants take part in the picket on their own time, before or after their shifts or on a day off.

"The union informed us in advance of its plan to picket and assured us that this activity will have no impact on our level of patient care or on those entering and leaving the building," said Geoff Thompson, a spokesman for Lawrence Hospital. "The hospital is operating normally and we remain committed to providing the highest quality, safest and most compassionate care and service to our patients.

These union members have been in negotiations since Oct. 2015, and have been without a contract for nearly a year. The workers held a candlelight vigil on Aug. 5 and returned to the negotiating table on Aug. 8, but no progress was made.

Members say they have been trying to negotiate a contract with wages and a pension that are on par with the contracts of Local 1199 members who work in the New York-Presbyterian health system at other sites in the metro area.

"When you disrespect the hospital's workers, you are also disrespecting the patients who count on us for care, comfort and services," said Local 1199 member Andrea Prince. "The community deserves to know why this hospital is treating Bronxville workers and patients differently from other hospitals in the Presby system."

Thompson said the hospital is continuing to negotiate in good faith with Local 1199. 

"We are committed to working with the union in an effort to reach a contract that is fair to both our SIEU employees and the hospital."

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