(Medina, NY) – Employees of Orleans Community Health’s Medina Memorial Hospital have notified Federal, State, and hospital officials that they intend to engage in informational picketing on May 3 if no agreement is reached in their months long contract dispute. Notices were sent to the authorities last Friday. Under Federal law, health care workers must give at least ten days advance notice in order to picket. The planned action is informational only, and does not involve any work stoppage.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume on Friday, April 27, under the supervision of a Federal Mediator, and they are set to continue of Saturday, April 28. Both sides have expressed a desire to resolve the dispute but the parties remain far apart on a number of basic issues that include job security procedures, legal rights, health insurance, wages, and other economic items.

The contract talks opened December 13. There have been eighteen major negotiating sessions since then.

Union contracts covering registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and medical technicians, service and maintenance employees expired December 31, but staff and management agreed to extend the contracts’ terms three times since then.

325 employees are covered by the union contracts with Orleans Community Health.

Staff are represented in the talks by a 14 member employee committee. They are members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. 1199 SEIU members work at many other health care institutions in Western New York including Eastern Niagara Hospital’s Lockport and Newfane facilities, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Kaleida Health, and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Orleans Community Health operates the 70 bed Medina Memorial Hospital, 200 Ohio Street, NY, and other community based health care services in the Orleans County area.

For further information, please contact Bruce Popper at (585) 746-0478.