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1199SEIU Caregivers at Michael Malotz Skilled Nursing Home and Key Supporters Announce an Historic Contract Settlement with Adira Rehabilitation

August 21, 2015
What: Announcement and Discussion of Contract : *unconfirmed • 1199SEIU, Executive Vice President Maria Kercado • 1199SEIU workers at Michael Malotz • NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins • Yonkers City Councilman Christopher Johnson • Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer • Ron Corti, President & CEO of St. John’s Riverside Hospital • *Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano • *Ari Stein, Adira Rehabilitation

A collective bargaining agreement between 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East and Adira Rehabilitation has been signed and ratified, after several tumultuous months that included the threat of layoffs, arbitration and court proceedings, an informational picket and public outcry.

The concern began when St. John’s Riverside, which is selling its Michael Malotz facility to the for-profit entity Adira Rehabilitation, announced that almost 140 caregivers, some who have been at the nursing home for decades, would be laid off. In order to work at the Adira-run facility, workers were required to reapply for their jobs, this time with minimal or no benefits and at a significantly lower rate of pay.

“From the moment we heard that news, our worry was for the residents and the caregivers, because we know continuity of care and quality care require a stable workforce,” said Maria Kercado, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President. “We saw the way the transition was happening as an unnecessary disturbance. Fortunately, the settlement indicates that St. John’s and Adira understand what 1199 and our elected officials have been saying along---quality patient care and good jobs are the key to the health and prosperity of our region.”

A significant part of the new agreement is that the caregivers will continue to receive the same health, pension and other benefits that were provided in their contract with St. Johns and the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Nursing Homes. Area elected officials worked hard to ensure this would happen.

NYS State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "From my perspective, there were too many lives hanging in the balance: the residents who depend on quality nursing home care; workers facing a diminished standard of living; and a hospital straining under the weight of a nursing home it could no longer afford. That's why I felt it extremely important to bring the parties back to the table and help them stay there, until a deal was reached. Now, Adira will provide excellent nursing home care in partnership with 1199 workers, who will maintain their wages and benefits, so St. John's can continue focusing on what they do best, providing great hospital care."

In July, a state court judge temporarily stopped the sale of the nursing home, based on objections brought by 1199SEIU regarding the impact of the sale on quality care and caregivers. The objection was based upon the “failure of the buyer, Adira at Riverside Rehabilitation, to hire the caregivers who have been tending to the residents for years”.

Ray Outerbridge, a Malotz C.N.A. who works directly with frail and elderly residents said, “We are all so grateful for the support we received from our local officials and the public. They know that any plan that puts nursing home jobs in jeopardy is a risk to nursing home residents, their families, and anyone who will require skilled nursing home care at some time. That could be any one of us.”

Further details of the agreement will be discussed at the press conference at 12:30 p.m., Friday, August 21 at the Malotz site.

United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.


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