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Masonic Care Community Workers Picket After Union Contract Talks Break Down

Masonic Care Community
Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) - Service Employees International Union leadership voted to allow their members to hold an Informational Picket today, in an effort to force Masonic Care Community back to the negotiating table. “I think we can come to an amicable conclusion if we just sit down and just hammer it out. Both sides have to understand what have to be done,” said Rick Coromato, SEIU Local 1199 Union Delegate and member of the Bargaining Committee. He says the breaking point concerns healthcare insurance coverage.

Officials with Masonic Care Community are asking their workers to start contributing to their healthcare insurance coverage–pointing to the down turn of the economy, and reduce state aid for Medicare and Medicaid, a major source of income for the company. Robert Raffle, Interim Executive Director at Masonic Care Community says it’s bowls down to the economics of the situation. “We’ve had some hard hits from our state and federal government when it comes to our Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and it’s making it difficult for us to operate in this current environment. And, because of that we are looking and asking all of our employees to help out where they can,” he said.

But, Coromato says the move would negative impact families who are also feeling the effects of a depressed economy. He said, “It’s ineffective, us contributing to our healthcare and our healthcare payments. Some of the people here don’t make a lot of money here. It’s hard to get that contribution where it won’t hurt somebody to decide whether they have to pay a bill or buy food.” Both sides say they remain hopeful an agreement will be reached. In the meantime, Union members will plan to picket this afternoon from 1 to 5. Members were also picketed this morning from 7 to 8 in front of Masonic Care Community.

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