After years of rallying, testifying and negotiating, 1199SEIU members at the Glendale Nursing Home in Schenectady, New York saw the fruits of their labor begin to take hold. A ceremony to formally break ground for building a new Glendale Home was held on the bright Sunday morning of June 24. Caregivers, residents and their families joined members of the Schenectady County Legislature and other union and community leaders to symbolically place the first shovels in the ground and celebrate.
“We break ground today on a new nursing home after a long fight for the right of our residents to have access to quality nursing care in their own community,” said Karen Johnson, Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Subcommittee on the Glendale Home. “The construction of this facility has real life implications for the seniors of Schenectady County and their families, as we will now be able to provide a state of the art facility for our most vulnerable residents.”
Brenda Olsen, a long-time CNA at the home was holding back tears of joy. “There were definitely times I didn’t believe we would see this day,” she said. “I can’t remember how many times I gave testimony, explaining that we strongly support services for senior citizens who can stay in their family homes—but there are always going to be people who need 24/7 skilled nursing care. Those people deserve to be able to live in a nursing home that is close to their families. This project is the right thing—the humane thing to do, and I am grateful Schenectady County officials worked with us and the entire community to ensure it gets done right.”
The new 200-bed nursing home will be built in front of the existing facility, which was opened in 1936 to provide care for the county’s frail and elderly citizens. With a project labor agreement (PLA) in place, the county legislature accepted the final contracts for the construction in May, coming in more than $6 million under budget. The PLA will help ensure that local construction workers are used for the project, with at least 80 percent of the construction workers hired locally. Out-of-area contractors must hire local construction workers. Savings will be realized through the increased use of apprentices, reduction in holidays, specifying the project as a building project to avoid paying higher highway work costs and using alternative dispute resolution for workers' compensation.