Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 49 at St. John Medical Center have strongly come down on the side of a strike authorization, as contentious contract negotiations continue. It’s reported in this morning’s Daily News that the union members voted to authorize a strike by a 7-1 margin. The vote does NOT mean that the 460 SEIU members at the hospital will go on strike, but it does mean that the union could call a strike if a contract agreement is not reached. The last contract expired on September 30th; the union says that the main sticking point in the negotiations over the health care benefit package that the hospital is offering. The union would also like a bit better wage package. The next contract negotiation session is set for Wednesday, the 17th.