Lucky Number 13 for NJ Genesis Workers

August 12, 2015

Tonette Jeffcoat, a recreation aide at Genesis Voorhees Center in Voorhees, NJ, is among the 1,300 workers covered by a new contract.

After just over six months of tense back-and-forth negotiations, 1,300 members at 13 nursing homes across New Jersey owned by the Genesis Corp. ratified a new three-year contract in July that provides wage increases for all members and safeguards their health benefits, pensions and paid time off.

The negotiating committee was comprised of all represented classifications and departments—nursing, housekeeping, dietary and recreation— and workers credit unity across all 13 facilities for their success.

“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.

Members fostered solidarity at the bargaining table and in the shops with open lines of communication and at least six walk-ins on the boss where they delivered petitions against Genesis’ use of subcontractors.

This agreement is about what’s best for workers and residents, says negotiating committee member Emma Darko, a unit clerk at Park Place Center in Monmouth.

“We knew that united we stand, divided we fall,” she says. “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.”