During voting Wednesday night and Thursday, dietary workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital authorized leaders to call a strike.
The workers, who are represented by the Service Employees International Union District 1199, voted 87-13, with one voided ballot, to allow leaders to call job actions. Two-thirds of the 150 members of District 1199 voted in the election. Workers began voting Wednesday night, but the balloting was extended to Thursday because many employees worked late shifts or second jobs and could not attend the Wednesday night vote.
Union spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff said the group has not set a strike date. Because a strike would affect a health care facility, union leaders would have to notify the hospital, the state and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service 10 days before going on strike.
Union leaders are continuing to negotiate new contracts with the hospital, more than 21 months after the old ones expired. Wage and benefits have been major sources of contention, union leaders said, but a key issue remains the union’s efforts to organize about 1,800 other workers in the hospital. The group has been closely aligned with Yale’s two largest unions, which also voted to authorize job actions Wednesday night. Sources in the unions have indicated they may hold a three-day strike in October.
Through a spokeswoman, Hospital CEO Joseph Zaccagnino has declined to comment about unionization.
–Arielle Levin Becker