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After several sessions of tense back-and-forth negotiations with management, over one thousand members at 13 Genesis nursing homes across New Jersey have ratified a new contract. The agreement secures wage increases for all members while safeguarding their health plan, pension, paid time off and other crucial benefits.

The contract was negotiated by a team of caregivers representing all departments—nursing, housekeeping, dietary, and recreation—who together have more than 300 years of experience caring for the elderly and disabled.

Workers credit their unity across all 13 facilities—both at the bargaining table and in the shops—as the reason why the negotiations turned out so successfully.

“Everybody came together because even though we work at different nursing homes, we all do the same jobs. We all have the same concerns for our families—being able to put food on the table and pay our bills,” said Marci Best, a dietary aide at Holly Manor Center in Mendham who served on the union’s bargaining committee.

Emma Darko , a who works as a unit clerk at Park Place Center in Monmouth, echoed this sentiment. “We knew that united we stand, divided we fall,” she said. “A good contract protects us and our residents too. When workers are treated well, they stay at the job longer. Residents get very attached to us—they see us day in and day out. They are more comfortable around us than their own families a lot of the time because we’re there caring for them every day. That’s why it was so important for us to secure a fair contract.”

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