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Members of Kaleida Health unions ratify new contract

Members of three unions representing 7,500 workers at Kaleida Health hospitals have ratified a new, three-year contract.

Approval of the contract comes one month after officials from Kaleida Health – the region’s largest private employer – and the three unions announced they had reached a tentative agreement that included wage increases and changes to work rules that the system said will allow it to better serve patients.

The wage increases are 2 percent for the first year, 3 percent for the second year and 3 percent for the third year, according to union officials.

The contract also calls for hiring the equivalent of 139 full-time employees, primarily nurses, who work directly with patients.

The workers covered by the master bargaining agreement are members of Communications Workers of America Local 1168, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 17.

The statement, which did not release the vote totals of each union, did include comments from hospital and union leaders lauding the approval of the agreement. Negotiations on the deal began in March.

Kaleida Health, the region’s biggest health system, operates Buffalo General Medical Center, Women & Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and DeGraff Memorial Hospital, as well as Gates Vascular Institute, HighPointe on Michigan nursing home and the Visiting Nursing Association home care agency.

The system employs about 10,000 full- and part-time employees.