“For my co-workers, this was a ‘Wow! moment,” said Joan King. “It was like a wonderful light was turned on in our heads.”
King is one of the 1,900 workers at New York City’s Hebrew Home & Hospital Homecare Agency who, as 1199SEIU members, fall under a contract they agreed to last year. Part of the agreement included "Look Back” language regarding the Homecare Benefit Fund.
This regarded a cap on the numbers of members eligible for medical benefits. If that cap was not reached, the difference in the employer contribution would go directly into the pockets of all the workers according to the total number of hours worked in 2011. That amount was approximately $900K. But another $400,000 from a prior contract, part of a settlement from the Benefit Fund, was added to the pot, making for a total of $1.3 million or a pay-out on average of $684 per member.
“It is beautiful,” said Joan King. “I’m a single parent with three kids. So this is like getting a couple extra paychecks. For a homecare worker, this is fantastic.” Hebrew Home & Hospital and the homecare agency have agreed to distribute the money before the end of May. “The hard work and persistence of Union staff and the members have paid off,” said 1199SEIU Vice President Rene Ruiz.