1199SEIU Healthcare Workers to Picket Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Center FridayMarch 21, 2018
For Immediate Release: March 21, 2018
Contact: Allison Krause, 315.679.6032
Marshall Bertram, 716.563.3662
Caregivers hope to avoid picket, reach agreement at bargaining session on Thursday.
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the for-profit, downstate owners of Newfane Rehabilitation and the 130 LPNs, CNAs, dietary employees, and housekeepers represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, that began in January stalled in recent weeks prompting caregivers to plan an informational picket in front of the facility this Friday, March 23.
If no agreement between Newfane owners and the healthcare workers is not reached at a bargaining session scheduled for Thursday, March 22, workers will picket the facility to protest the company’s continued refusal to improve staffing, prioritize quality care, or offer employees fair wage and pension increases. Management has also proposed plans to cut the health insurance benefits workers currently receive which could make it difficult for Newfane to attract or retain qualified healthcare workers.
“We can’t hire people and keep people with these wages and benefits,” said John Religa, a nurse at the facility for 11 years. “The facility has high turnover which hurts residents and burdens staff.” Newfane Rehab has a one-star quality rating and below average staffing levels on most days.
“We are constantly doing the work of two or three aides because of short-staffing but management rarely comes to town and seems to only be concerned about their profits,” said Lizbeth Borton, a CNA at Newfane for the past 10 years. “It affects the whole community when residents and workers are suffering.”
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.