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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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Unionized Stony Brook Hospital workers lose jobs

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) members rallying outside of Stony Brook Medical Center on Dec. 14. The members and labor allies demanded for their job backs after the switch to a non-union company. PHOTO COURTESY OF RWDSU

Dozens of unionized parking valets previously employed by Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) have lost their jobs after hospital administration switched out the previous New Rochelle parking vendor, Classic Valet Parking, for a non-union company.

The workers were represented by Local 1102, a branch of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) which also represents about 300 workers in the University’s dining halls. The workers were let go on Dec. 1, right after the new contractor, Parking Systems, Inc., took over.

On Dec. 14, the fired workers rallied in front of SBUH demanding to be reinstated as employees. According to a press release issued by RWDSU, many of the workers’ families have lost their only source of income as a result of the change, and at least one family has multiple members who worked together as parking valets that now face unemployment.

Although all the previous employees were offered interviews with Parking Systems, Inc., none of them were hired. In response, RWDSU has alleged that Parking Systems, Inc. purposefully denied the unionized workers employment so that they could subvert Local 1102 — an allegation that is currently being investigated by the National Labour Relations Board after the union filed a complaint.

In response to a list of questions sent to the SBUH media relations office, officials responded with a statement: “[SBUH] is dedicated to fostering a positive work environment where all are valued, supported and respected. Contracts like this one are awarded using New York State finance laws and State University of New York procedures.”

Hospital officials chose not to respond to a question that asked whether they knew Parking Systems, Inc. was non-union and would therefore likely not act favorably to the current unionized workers upon taking over the hospital’s contract.

Parking Systems, Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.

“The impact on these families – many of whom all worked together as valet parkers – is profound, and we demand the Hospital work with the Union to explore possible solutions for the well-being of our community members who now find themselves in the midst of an unexpected crisis,” the press release stated.

Ramon Perez, one of the valet workers who lost their job after Parking Systems, Inc. was awarded the new contract, said that families who relied on the income from these jobs would struggle as a result.

“The reason we’re out here today is because we lost our jobs,” Perez said in the press release. “I have fifteen-years of experience and many others [have] ten-plus years of experience. There are families like mine who were relying on this work to provide for the holiday season. That’s all been destroyed and derailed because we suddenly have no income. We call on [SBUH] to reinstate us now.”

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, you can catch him reporting on WUSB's weekly news show and as a member of the Stony Brook Media Group.
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    BetteJan 2, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    The union at SBUH is garbage. I was employed as an aid when a patient who was wheel chair bound cause of hip surgery wanted to go to the bathroom. I had transfered her from her bed to the wheel chair and wheeled her to the bathroom. Once inside the bathroom I transferred her to the bowl. I stood inside by the door waiting for her to finish. She maneuvered herself to one side of the bowl and banged her leg into the cabinet below the sink, causing her to have another surgery. She claimed that I was not in the bathroom with her and lied numbeous times. I was fired and was a union member. Union did not stand op for me at all. I do not expect the union to stand up for these workers. Just pay dues for nothing.

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