The UFT scored three more organizing victories in the health care and nonprofit education sectors this summer. New units of registered nurses, therapists and the staff of an early childhood learning center for children with disabilities voted in National Labor Relations Board union elections to affiliate with the UFT.
With the addition of the newly organized case management nurses at Staten Island University Hospital, the Federation of Nurses/UFT expanded its bargaining unit there by 10 members. At the Augustanna Rehabilitation Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 20 occupational therapists, physical therapists and recreational therapists voted yes to the union, joining their nurse colleagues across the street at the NYU Lutheran Medical Center affiliate.
These election victories come on the heels of two successful collective-bargaining agreements covering more than a thousand UFT members that were overwhelmingly ratified at both hospital sites earlier in the year.
UFT Vice President for non-DOE Employees Anne Goldman said both organizing victories came after what she described as surprisingly contentious contract campaigns that reflected “a cultural climate change.” Instead of the longstanding mutual respect between management and union that accompanied previous negotiations at both worksites, this time it was “like the nasty, old-school attacks on unions,” she explained. “Management seemed prepared to go all out to kill us, to test our vulnerability.”
The UFT also won in its campaign to represent the teacher assistants, one-to-one aides and support staff at Infant and Child Learning Center in Brooklyn, in a 17–6 union election. The union, however, lost by one vote the right to represent the professional staff. A nonprofit center run by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York, the Infant and Child Learning Center provides early intervention services for children ages 3 to 5 who are at risk for developmental disabilities.
The UFT is expecting tough contract negotiations at all three worksites.