1199SEIU Files 5 Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against For-Profit Nursing Home Operator McGuire GroupJuly 5, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: AprilE@1199.org | (716)449-1620
Buffalo, NY – Today, 1199SEIU filed 5 Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that McGuire Group violated federal labor laws. 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare workers union represents more than 600 members working at four different McGuire facilities in the WNY area. The long-term care facilities are owned and operated by Long Island residents Edward Farbenblum and Orly Lieberman,1 commonly known as VestraCare, LLC.
“The owners are basically harassing us to give into what they want, says Ashley Hoffman,” Dietary Aide at North Gate Health Care facility in North Tonawanda. “They are texting us at all times of the day, when we are off the clock – telling us they aren’t going to pay us if we decide to strike and were telling us to vote no for the strike. They are pushing their no-frills agenda which is where we basically get nothing for a higher rate of pay – no health insurance, no holiday pay, and no time off. I’m glad the union is helping us to stand up to fight for what we worked so hard for over the years to keep,” says Hoffman.
1199SEIU alleges that the McGuire Group has, over the last several months, deliberately engaged in tactics of intimidation against union members planning to participate in one-day strikes. The union alleges that management has been making untrue and coercive statements to members regarding the possibility of a strike by texting, emailing and calling workers at their homes. Management has allegedly been engaging in direct dealing with employees and attempting to undermine bargaining unit member’s ability to strike by offering non-union positions to bargaining unit workers, and by engaging in direct dealing with employees over contract bargaining proposals outside of bargaining sessions. The union alleges that management is threatening to terminate employees for engaging in protected union activity and is refusing to hire job applicants into bargaining-unit positions in an attempt to bust the union, which also doesn’t help to properly staff the critically short-staffed facilities.
The five unfair labor practice charges were levied against Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg, Garden Gate Health Care Facility in Cheektowaga, North Gate Health Care Facility in North Tonawanda, and Seneca Health Care Facility in West Seneca. The union and management return to the bargaining table again tomorrow in an effort to reach a fair contract for more than 600 long-term caregivers.
More than 1,200 long term caregivers at 12 for-profit nursing homes across Western New York whose union contracts all expired will hold one-day strikes in demand for fair wages on July 12 and July 13. This month, 98.6% of workers voted by an overwhelming majority at each facility in favor of holding one-day strikes to win better wages!
Caregivers represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare workers union are asking for a $15 minimum wage for service workers, higher start rates for new employees, and standardized wage scales based on experience. Caregivers say wage improvements are needed to retain experienced workers to care for residents, but also to recruit new workers to help with critically understaffed facilities.
One-day strikes will be held on July 12 and July 13 at the following facilities:
1. Autumn View Health Care Facility, 4650 Southwestern Blvd, Hamburg, NY 14075
2. Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing, 1014 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14209
3. Elderwood at Lockport, 104 Old Niagara Rd, Lockport, NY 14094
4. Elderwood at Williamsville, 200 Bassett Rd, Williamsville, NY 14221
5. Ellicott Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing, 200 7th St, Buffalo, NY 14201
6. Fiddler’s Green Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 168 W Main St, Springville, NY 14141
7. Garden Gate Health Care Facility, 2365 Union Rd, Cheektowaga, NY 14227
8. Gowanda Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, 100 Miller St, Gowanda, NY 14070
9. Humboldt House Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, 64 Hager St, Buffalo, NY 14208
10.Newfane Rehabilitation & Health Center, 2709 Transit Rd, Newfane, NY 14108
11.North Gate Health Care Facility, 7624 Nash Rd, North Tonawanda, NY 14120
12.Seneca Health Care Center, 2987 Seneca St, West Seneca, NY 14224
Caregivers at the twelve area facilities work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Personal Care Attendants, Housekeeping, Dietary Aides, Cooks, Laundry Aides, and Maintenance Workers.
Autumn View Health Care Facility, Garden Gate Health Care Facility, North Gate Health Care Facility, and Seneca Health Care Facility are Indirectly owned and operated Edward Farbenblum and Orly Lieberman2 . Buffalo Center & Ellicott Center are indirectly owned & operated by Kenneth Rozenber and Jeff Sicklick. Elderwood at Lockport and Elderwood at Williamsville are indirectly owned & operated by Jeffrey Rubin and Warren Cole. Fiddler’s Green is indirectly owned and operated by Jeffrey Goldstein and Chaim Lowenbraun. Gowanda Rehabilitation is indirectly owned and operated by Batia Zagelbaum; Esther Barth; Chaya Walden; Yechiel Zagelbaum; and Yoel Zagelbaum. Humboldt House is indirectly owned and operated by Jeffrey Goldstein; Lea Sherman; Alexander Sherman; Esther Mendlowitz; Tzvi Sherman; Yehuda B Sherman; and Hindi Amsel. Newfane Rehabilitation is indirectly owned and operated by Maximus Newfane, LLC - Jonah Jay Lobell; Yisroel A Bornstein; Henry Steinmetz; Yaakov Weitman; and Nisson Hirsch.3
1199SEIU 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.
1 SOURCE: New York State Department of Health, Certificate of Need database, available online at https://apps.health.ny.gov/facilities/cons/nysecon/AdvancedSearch.action Source with no project changes found
2 SOURCE: New York State Department of Health, Certificate of Need database, available online at https://apps.health.ny.gov/facilities/cons/nysecon/AdvancedSearch.action Source with no project changes found
3 New York State Department of Health, 2020 RHCF Cost Reports, at Pre-fatory 1, Ownership Information Operations