ARBITRATOR ISSUES HISTORIC DECISION REQUIRING HOME CARE EMPLOYERS TO FUND A $30 MILLION DOLLAR WAGE FUND TO PAY BACK WAGES AND PENALTIES TO CURRENT AND FORMER 1199 HOME CARE WORKERSMarch 3, 2022
NEW YORK – An arbitrator has issued an historic $30 million arbitration award covering more than 100,000 current and former 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East bargaining unit members employed at 42 home care agencies.
Arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman found employer violations of wage and hour laws and has ordered the creation of a $30 million Special Wage Fund, to be fully funded by the employers, to pay wage and hour claims of 1199 home care workers.
The Award decision, issued Feb. 25, covers only those home care workers who work at agencies represented by 1199SEIU. This Award does not resolve the multitude of wage and hour issues facing non-1199 home care workers.
“1199 is proud of this historic Special Wage Fund and looks forward to its distribution to so many of our members,” said Rona Shapiro, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President of the Home Care Division.
In 2015, 1199 home care workers negotiated a unique provision in the collective bargaining agreements providing for the efficient resolution of wage and hour claims with all of the protections and remedies that would be available to them in federal court. Unlike non-union workers who are forced to enter into one-sided arbitration agreements, this negotiated provision provided a way for 1199 home care workers to protect all of their statutory rights without having to pay a private attorney.
In 2019, 1199 filed a class action grievance against more than 40 home care agencies asserting that their employers failed to pay for interruptions on 24-hour cases, to properly pay for federal overtime from January to October 2015, and to pay for travel time between cases. Pursuant to the CBA, the Union’s grievance proceeded to mediation and then arbitration...
The Special Wage Fund will be funded and distributed by August 2022 and will pay the claims of all eligible 1199 workers during the applicable period. The Arbitrator has ordered a notice be sent within sixty days to all eligible 1199 workers who must respond in order to receive their portion of the Special Wage Fund. No dollar of the Special Wage Fund will revert to the employers. The union looks forward to distribution of the Special Wage Fund to its members over the next several months.
“Home care workers are health care workers who provide the critical care our clients need. Our work is important and should be taken seriously,* said Francisco A. Javier Castillo, an 1199SEIU home care worker.
“I am glad to an 1199 member and work at an 1199 agency where I have a collective bargaining agreement and disputes can be resolved between workers and employers. I look forward to filing my claim and receiving my payment.”
“This is a win for 1199 home care workers and our families, and I am proud to be a part of the fight to make sure 24-hour workers are paid more fairly,” said 11999 home care worker Argelis Sanchez.
“I am grateful to our Union for making sure we as 1199 live-in workers receive payment for the hours we spent caring for our clients, said Zhi Fang Gu, an 1199SEIU home care worker.