St. Joseph Hospital Caregivers Unite with 1199SEIU in a Rally for Fair Wages

St. Joseph
St. Joseph Hospital workers including Paul Dillion(left) and Chris Dandona (right) rally outside 4295 Hempstead Tpke, Bethpage for higher wages.
Long Island Press Photo

Physician assistants (PAs) and social workers at St. Joseph Hospital rallied in Bethpage Thursday, June 13, in their first stand to renegotiate their contracts including employee benefits. 

The rally followed two votes in December and January to join 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare union in New York and nationwide. The 203-bed hospital is part of Catholic Health, which employs nearly 16,000 people across six hospitals, three nursing homes, and other facilities. 

PAs and social workers have urged the hospital administration to negotiate a fair union contract, similar to the agreements secured by nearly 600 other St. Joseph Hospital caregivers who have been 1199SEIU members since around 2000. St. Joseph Hospital’s administration has so far refused to commit to a wage increase and immediate improvements in benefits. PA Chris Dandona says it’s about time the PAs and social workers got new contracts. 

“We should all be entitled to lifetime health benefits when we retire, considering we all work in the hospital, and most of the hospital gets it already because they are in the union,” said Dandona. 

Dandona also emphasized their exclusion from the hospital administration’s decision-making processes as one of the prominent issues with management. 

“A lot of stuff goes on behind closed doors that we are never a part of. We should have some seat at the table when changes are being discussed,” said Dandona.

PA Paul Dillion highlighted the lack of representation of PAs as one of the main reasons for joining the union. 

“It’s also about representation in the hospital,” PA Paul Dillion explained. “It felt like we were pushed around and just told what to do without much backing to say otherwise. They don’t take into account the PAs here. They just make changes within other departments in the hospital and say, ‘Alright, this is your job now.’ We really have no say.” 

Dillion says the St. Joseph Hospital administration has yet to respond to any pay scale requests, but spirits remain high. 

“A lot of other hospitals are talking to the union, too, which is pretty big. We got the ball rolling for many other PAs on Long Island,” said Dillion. 

A second rally is planned for later this month. To learn more about it, contact 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East or visit their website at www.1199SEIU.org.

St. Joseph
St. Joseph Hospital workers rally outside 4295 Hempstead Tpke, Bethpage for higher wages.