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Mayor de Blasio is backing laundry workers who serve the city’s public hospitals weeks before they may go on strike over a contract spat.
The unionized workers who provide clean medical linens to public and private hospitals across the city will rally on Tuesday to keep pension benefits as part of a new contract with their employer, Unitex. The workers are prepared to strike if they don’t get a “fair” new contract by Dec. 1, though they’d like to avoid one.
“Unitex can easily afford to continue to pay into the pension fund for these workers,” said Alberto Arroyo, a top union official negotiating on behalf of the workers. “It would be shameful and wrong for Unitex to provoke a needless strike and cause many of the city’s hospitals to lose access to clean linens very quickly.”
“The laundry workers who ensure our hospitals and nursing homes have clean and safe supplies deserve a fair contract that includes retirement security, and the city stands with them in their fight,” de Blasio spokeswoman Laura Feyer said.
Workers say Unitex wants to eliminate future pension benefits and replace them with 401 (k)s as part of their new contract starting next month — a move they fear would effectively shift the cost of retirement savings to them.
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