A tentative deal between Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and the 1199 Service Employees International Union was reached early this morning, according to hospital and union officials.
In a joint statement, the union and hospital officials made these remarks: "We are pleased to announce that Brooks Memorial Hospital and the workers of 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East have reached a tentative contract settlement. We believe this contract, when ratified, will benefit the hospital, the workers and the entire community. The negotiations, which began on March 11, 2014, reached tentative settlement at approximately 12:30 a.m. (after midnight this morning). Both negotiating teams acknowledged the difficult issues faced in a rapidly changing healthcare industry and expressed confidence that this agreement sets a solid foundation for continued collaboration for building the future of the hospital and the community it serves. The contract will not take effect until a ratification vote is taken by the 1199SEIU membership at the hospital. That date is scheduled for September 11, 2014. After ratification, details of the contract will be released."
On Sunday, the OBSERVER reported both sides were upbeat going into the talks on Monday. "I feel both sides were pretty close to an agreement," said Jeff St. George, an employee at Brooks and a member of the union negotiating committee. "Everybody is holding up really well. All of our committee, except one, we have all done contract negotiations before. We're aware of how this takes place and how this is done. This has been a little lengthy but everybody's holding up pretty well and supporting each other."