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Healthcare Workers to Rally Against Kindred Nursing Home Closures in Needham and Canton

January 17th rallies to highlight negative impact of closings on employees, residents and local families

Boston, Mass. (January 17, 2017) – Healthcare workers with 1199SEIU today announced they will host two rallies to highlight the negative impacts that the closing of Kindred-owned nursing homes in Canton and Needham will have on the region.  

The closings will result in the layoffs of dozens of healthcare workers and place new burdens on local seniors and their families, while also raising new questions about the state of Massachusetts’ nursing home industry. The two rallies will take place on Wednesday, January 17th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Avery in Needham and Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Tower Hill in Canton.

“We are deeply concerned about these latest nursing home closures, which create enormous stress for residents, families, employees and the community,” said Massachusetts State Representative Denise Garlick. “Families in Needham and Canton and across the region deserve access to quality and reliable care. We urge Kindred to work with healthcare workers and our community to minimize the disruption and hardship for residents and their families, employees and the community.”

During two recent Department of Public Health (DPH) meetings, healthcare workers with 1199SEIU voiced concerns about a number of issues related to the closings – including maintaining quality care at the homes during the transition, the relocation of residents, and much-needed support for caregivers currently employed at these facilities. To date, Kindred has failed to offer workers a fair severance package that recognizes their many years of service and that offers much-needed financial support during the transition. 

Since 2000, more than 200 of Massachusetts’ skilled nursing facilities have closed – over a third of the state’s facilities. The pace of facility sales has also accelerated in recent years, including dozens of homes formerly owned and operated by the now-defunct Golden Living and Kindred national chains. The turnover creates confusion and anxiety because it’s often unclear whether new management will keep the facility open, maintain the workforce and honor existing labor contracts.

“Kindred must do a better job of creating a transition plan that meets the needs of employees and families so they are not left struggling to deal with these sudden closures,” said Herbert Jean-Baptiste, vice president at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Our caregivers work incredibly hard to care for residents and their families. Kindred has failed to produce an adequate severance package that reflects the many years of service of these dedicated employees.”

Healthcare workers are also advocating for the passage of legislation that will help to stabilize the nursing home industry. In addition, healthcare workers are urging DPH to create an updated regulatory structure that more adequately addresses complex issues around licensing, ownership and operations. Healthcare workers also support the creation of a strong stakeholder group that can develop a plan and policy recommendations to improve licensing, closure processes and excess nursing home bed inventory.

The rallies take place on Wednesday, January 17th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Kindred nursing homes in Needham and Canton. Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Avery is located at 100 West Street, Needham, Mass. Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation-Tower Hill is located at 1 Meadowbrook Way, Canton, Mass.

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Representing more than 56,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and over 400,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union.