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Union to H+H: curb temp use, convert to full-time jobs

Carmen Charles
Local 420 President
Eddie Rodriguez
Local 1549 President
Henry Garrido
DC 37 Executive Director


After months of intense negotiations, the union inked a deal with NYC Health+Hospitals June 27 that sharply curbs the agency’s reliance on temporary agency workers to do jobs that should be performed by unionized, full-time employees.

“This is a long-fought, major victory for the union and its members that potentially affects thousands of workers and corrects years of economic injustices,” said Henry Garrido, DC 37 Executive Director. “This settlement mandates that NYC Health+Hospitals convert to full-time employee status all existing positions currently filled by temporary agency workers. It establishes a real career path where there was none for many who were sidelined as temps but were, in some cases, assigned to work full-time hours and even overtime, though H+H never afforded them opportunities or upgrades to become full-time workers with the full range of benefits that come with being unionized employees of the City of New York.”

NYC H+H’s overuse of temporary workers– many have worked a decade or longer– was “a widespread problem that undermined the civil service career track,” said DC 37 and Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez, “and denied workers an opportunity to climb the economic ladder to the middle class.”

“For years union reps, researchers and lawyers initiated grievances and improper practice lawsuits to block the excessive and unjust use of temps,” said Sallie Stallings, a Hospitals council rep who filed dozens of grievances that led to the settlement.

Still, managers at NYC H+H hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics kept hundreds of temp workers on staff. “Unless the union intervened with legal measures, NYC H+H never offered full time employment to these workers,” said Local 420 President Carmen Charles. “It kept the headcount artificially low. But we weren’t having it.”

Full time NYC H+H employees receive full pension credit, annual leave and sick leave and other benefits temporary agency workers don’t get.

The new agreement affects temp workers in Local 420 titles like Dietary Aide, Service Aide, Nurses’ Aide, and Patient Care Tech, clerical workers in Local 1549, and others.

The agreement says NYC H+H must first offer full time positions to per diem, part time and hourly workers who are DC 37 members and want per annum status with full employment benefits.

The settlement requires NYC H+H to review its payroll to convert or eliminate existing temporary positions filled by workers who for six months or longer are in titles DC 37 represents. It does allow NYC H+H to use temporary workers only in certain limited circumstances such as to cover a leave of absence, to fill difficult or hard-to-recruit positions, or in cases of unanticipated emergencies.

The pact mandates that NYC H+H provide staffing information to the union and meet quarterly with union leaders to ensure the agency is complying with the tenets of agreement.

Garrido reached this groundbreaking agreement with support from local presidents, the union’s Hospitals Division, Legal Dept., and Research and Negotiations Director David Paskin and Assistant Director Mark Heron.