Today’s news:

Parkway Hospital agreement averts strike

The New Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills has averted a threatened employee strike after signing and ratifying a new contract with 1199SEIU, the health care workers union.

The union counts among its membership some 500 employees at the hospital, comprising nurses, orderlies, housekeeping and food service staff, a Parkway spokesman said.

"The old contract was set to expire May 30, and as of last week we were still in negotiations" with 1199SEIU, he said. "They threatened a walkout May 30 if there was no contract."

The union did not immediately return calls for comment on the strike or contract.

The hospital had a contingency plan in case there was a walkout.

"We would've outsourced [the jobs done by those workers], but we don't want to engage in a long battle that would inconvenience the hospital," said Fred Stewart, Parkway's marketing and new business development vice president.

The hospital released a statement late last week saying that a tentative agreement had been reached with the union and that the new contract was expected to be ratified early this week. Stewart said Tuesday that the new contract had already been signed and ratified.

"The strike has been averted. We have signed and ratified the new contract," Stewart said.

At stake were employee raises and health care coverage, Stewart said.

"There are differences in the size and percentage of raises, and there is full health care coverage," he said of the new contract.

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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