PORT JERVIS — Contract negotiations broke down at 7:45 a.m. Thursday between representatives of 85,000 hospital workers from 1199 SEIU and management of the League of Voluntary Hospitals, which now includes Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis.

Pickets then convened in front of Bon Secours and other regional LVH hospitals, said Jim Wendt, a Bon Secours nuclear medicine technologist involved in negotiations. As he spoke, car horns honked in support and demonstrators chanted, “Who’s got the power? Union’s got the power!”

“We were close to an agreement on pensions, but management said we need to put in 1 percent more,” Wendt said. “That would be $60 million.”

To comply, the union offered to further decrease the pension for those who retire early, so they take a 9 percent decrease, not just 6 percent, Wendt said. The union would also increase the number of required working years from 20 to 25 to retire at 62. Additionally, first-year employees would add to the pension fund without getting credit until their second year. However, those concessions brought the union to only 0.43 percent of the needed 1 percent.

“They said they wanted more. We said we can’t do more,” said Wendt, noting that he had been up since 5 a.m. Wednesday because of the all-night negotiations.

“They wanted to raise retirement age for a full pension to 67, like for Social Security and disability benefits. But for those of us with direct patient care, that’s too hard,” said Angela Lane, a Bon Secours surgical technologist.

Lane said the union workers deserved a piece of the $685 million the state Legislature provided for health-care improvements after the union, on Feb. 21, filled 206 buses to Albany to demand funding for improved community hospitals and nursing homes.

“Hospitals received the money, but now they make believe they don’t have it,” Lane said.

Compromises were made on some major issues, Wendt said.

“Union growth was important, because it helps fund pensions and benefits. Management has added 30,000 non-union positions since 2015. For a long time they didn’t want to hear about ‘union growth.’ They wouldn’t use the word ‘growth,’ until last night someone slipped — they called it what it was.”

Management representatives then agreed to provide a list of non-union, non-management positions twice a year, so the union can arbitrate and provide union membership, Wendt said.

The 1199 contract expires Sept. 30. Negotiations were scheduled to begin again Friday morning, he said.

Helene Guss, communications director for Bon Secours Charity Health System, said, “Patient care is top priority at Bon Secours Community Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and all of the facilities in the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. Our staffs remain focused on exemplary patient care delivery and improving the health of our Hudson Valley communities."