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Fri., Oct. 9
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Union leaders: MMH employess willing to accept wage freeze


MASSENA - According to union leaders representing employees at Massena Memorial Hospital, the overwhelming majority of workers there would be willing to accept a three-year wage freeze, should the hospital not give up its municipal status.

Representing the hospital’s CSEA employees, Wayne Lincoln said their membership voted 172-4 in favor of the wage freeze.

The majority of the hospital’s nurses also agreed to the wage freeze by a vote of 72-3, NYSNA representative Cathy Thomas told members of the Massena Town Board Wednesday night.

While neither unit had 100 percent participation in vote, Mr. Lincoln said 82 percent of CSEA members voted with Ms. Thomas reporting that 75 percent of NYSNA members voted.

Town Councilman John F. Macaulay said he was impressed by those numbers.

“That says a lot,” he said.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he and Mr. Macaulay will be meeting today with representatives from both unions as well as members of the hospital’s Board of Managers and administration to receive an update on where the involved parties stand on coming up with a “Plan B.”

Earlier this month at a meeting that included CSEA and NYSNA representatives, as well as members of the hospital board and administration, Mr. Gray and Mr. Macaulay directed the involved parties to come up with an alternative plan to privatization.

“We gave them a time frame and a directive that they collectively need to find a different plan that will save the hospital $8 million over the next three years,” Mr. Gray said at that time.

Mr. Lincoln said while the employees agreed to a three-year wage freeze that is only acceptable should the hospital not go private.

“It’s a three-year wage freeze with everything else, other than insurance, remaining the same,” he said.

Ms. Thomas agreed.

“This is contingent upon everything else coming together,” she said.

Hospital employees have also suggested that the hospital change its insurance provider as a way of potentially saving money.

Mr. Macaulay said based on the conversations at the last meeting, he believes insurance changes may also be on the horizon.

“At the last meeting there was a willingness to look at the insurance,” he said.

Mr. Gray said the purpose of today’s meeting will be to receive an update on the development of the alternative plan.

“We’re going to come together and everybody is going to update us on where they are with doing what they have to do,” he said.

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