Approximately 1,300 1199 SEIU caregivers from thirteen nursing homes owned by Genesis HealthCare in New Jersey have accepted a settlement reached between management and the Union.

The caregivers completed final ratification of the proposed settlement earlier this month, and Genesis management was notified on January 12. The agreement, which included significant wage increases in each year of the contract, represents a major victory for members who negotiated its terms with management during a course of six months. The settlement comes at a time when many non-union workers across the state are accepting wage freezes. 1199 SEIU caregivers were also able to win additional contributions needed to protect their health and pension funds, which have faced rising health care costs and pension asset losses following the financial crisis.

“This contract is an important step forward. We won a fair contract that included the wage increases we need to support our families, and we protected our health and pension benefits. We’re very pleased,” said Halina Kuleszka, a CNA at Cinnaminson Center.

As a part of the negotiated settlement, the caregivers will also continue to have access to training and education opportunities funded by the employer, which are designed to promote professional development and technical skills training.

“This is a huge victory for our members. Over 1,300 caregivers at Genesis homes are now getting more of what they need to support themselves and their loved ones at home, while being enabled to take better care of their residents while on the job,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU in New Jersey.

1199 SEIU is the largest healthcare workers union in the United States, representing more than 350,000 professional, technical, clerical and service workers, pharmacists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurses' aides and home health aides employed in pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home care and social service agencies.