December 17, 2019

Young and long-time members work together to win agreements that benefit all.

NoContract2.jpgFlorida nursing home workers at Avante at Boca Raton ratified a new contract in early November. The three-year agreement includes several noteworthy gains; among them are pay raises totaling 9% over the life of the 3-year agreement, higher minimum wages, additional paid time off based on seniority, and bonuses for everyone.

“It feels really good to have secured this agreement,” said Nadia Louis, a certified nursing assistant and member of the bargaining team. “I have three children to support so the extra money is sorely needed and appreciated.”

The wage increases are based on seniority and job classifications. The agreement also includes a one-time ratification bonus for all bargaining unit employees which includes dietary aides and porters, cooks, floor techs, maintenance assistants, laundry aides, housekeeping aides and CNAs and improves language concerning arbitrations which members say is a huge victory. And this deal includes no givebacks.

“The bargaining team did a great job,” said Louis. “We stayed unified and committed to reach our goals and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish together.”

This agreement will benefit all of us who work hard every day to provide the best care we can to residents at the facility.

–Luz De La Cruz, CNA at Susanna Wesley Health Center

Certified nursing assistants at Susanna Wesley Health Center, a 120- bed nursing home facility in Hialeah, approved a new contract that includes significant gains. Among them, higher wages and additional paid time off for longtime employees.

“I am so thrilled that my coworkers united to approve this contract,” said Luz De La Cruz, who has worked as a CNA at the facility for 13 years. “This agreement will benefit all of us who work hard every day to provide the best care we can to residents at the facility.

NoContract_fa1.jpgPrior to this agreement, many of the CNAs earned between $9 and $10 per hour. Under the new three-year contract, the minimum wage has increased to $12 per hour. That’s about $4,000 more annually. In addition to the higher minimum wage, a 50-cent increase was recently added to their hourly pay.

“The higher pay is really appreciated,” said De La Cruz. “When you’re living on a tight budget, every penny counts.”

Workers at New York- Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, NY made history in 1965, with a historic strike that won union rights for hospital workers across New York State. They did it again in August, when they successfully pressed Lawrence to join the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, winning full coverage under 1199’s League contract. Previously independent Lawrence partnered with Presby several years ago, but until now, the hospital insisted the association with the mega-system was nominal only.

“This is really good. The younger members are learning what we went through to get here and that benefits everyone. We are all stronger for it,” said Marge Ferrell, an environmental services worker who retired 10 years go and now works per diem at Lawrence. “Sometimes it was really hard, and you wanted to give up, but I said no. We had to make this happen.”

1199 Magazine | November - December 2019