The morning of July 13 was out of the ordinary for New Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), but quite ordinary for the members of 1199SEIU at Cinnaminson Center Nursing Home. Assemblyman Singleton arrived at Cinnaminson Center that morning to walk a day in the shoes of the nursing home workers. The “Walk a Day in My Shoes" program aspires to get every elected official to experience firsthand what life is like for working people.
Assemblyman Singleton spent two hours performing the same everyday tasks that the workers do, from housekeeping to rounds with certified nursing assistants (CNAs). He helped vacuum the floor, delivered mid-morning snacks, and set the table for the residents' lunch. He also observed a physical therapy session, where residents in wheelchairs work out. and participated in a mental therapy exercise with residents playing trivia games to keep their minds alert.
Yonette Vails, a CNA, said, "I think it is so important that the people who make decisions about funding our nursing home see the extent of care that we give to the residents. We don’t only provide care. We provide support and companionship that is so critical to the health and well-being of our residents.”
CNA Vanessa Frater added, “The residents depend on us. Without us, many of them have nobody. Assemblyman Singleton was able to see that today.”
Singleton is himself a member of United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Millwright Local 715, and son of a Teamster.1199SEIU Executive President Milly Silva, who along with several union members escorted him on his visit, said, “I want to thank Assemblyman Singleton for walking in the shoes of our hard working caregivers, and also for his staunch support of nursing home funding in this year’s budget.
“Allies like Assemblyman Singleton understand that properly funding the nursing home industry not only allows our members to provide quality care, but to do so with the peace of mind that comes with the protections of health benefits, a secure retirement and a decent wage.”