Claxton-Hepburn Hospital workers vote to join union

News release

OGDENSBURG, NY —  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Union members have better pay, more job safety protections, better paid leave, and are more secure when exercising their rights in the workplace. Last year, in 2022, the US experienced what has been called a “union boom” with more than 200,000 workers at places like Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Lyft, and even college professors voting to form a union and improve their working conditions.

On Tuesday, May 2, 62 professional, technical, and service unit workers at Claxton Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg made the same choice when they voted overwhelmingly to join 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Workers from the Claxton Hepburn respiratory, radiology and medical lab, including Phlebotomists, Ultrasound Technologists, Respiratory Therapists, MRI Technologists, and others will join the 200 existing 1199SEIU members at the hospital.

Member statements:

Jodi Lachenauer, Senior Pathology Specimen Processor, 10 years

“Today I voted for fairness. During COVID we processed every test and went unnoticed and unappreciated. Now, with our union we will have a voice on the job and the raises we deserve.”

Helene Eggelson, Blood Bank Section Lead, 6 years

“As section leads the team relies on us to troubleshoot and support all aspects of the lab. We receive calls at all hours of the day, every day of the week, to support work in the lab being done to care for our community members. We should be appreciated and compensated appropriately. Now that we have our union there will be fairness.”

Helen Wallis, 1199SEIU Staff Administrative Organizer, 5 years

“Welcome! It’s exciting for new members to join those we currently represent at Claxton Hepburn Medical Center. The energy around this campaign was contagious and we hope it will continue to grow in our region.”

Ashley Gonzalez, Radiologic Technologist, 8 years

“I see my future here at Claxton Hepburn Medical Center. Now that we have our union, we are excited for what is to come. My family relies on this hospital and all of the people here. We all want to see a bright and secure future here.”

New union members will begin bargaining their first union contract soon.