1199SEIU Members At 4 Rural Nursing Homes in Upstate Set To Strike After Employer Commits Several Unfair Labor Practices Including Unlawfully Imposing A Final Contract Offer Leaving Caregivers Below Industry Wage And Benefit Standards.

June 7, 2024

1199SEIU Logo 1@3x.pngPRESS RELEASE: Friday, June 7, 2024
Contact: April.Ezzell@1199.org, 1199SEIU Communications (716) 449-1620


1199SEIU filed three Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Board Charges To Date Against For-Profit Nursing Home Chain alleging threats of retaliation against union members planning to strike, union busting by failing to rehire vacant bargaining unit positions, and bargaining in bad faith.

More than 300 healthcare workers at the four nursing homes in Allegany, Westfield, Orchard Park & East Aurora owned and operated by members of the Living Legends Health Network which includes: Absolut Care, McGuire Group, Taconic Health Care, and VestraCare will be on strike daily beginning June 13th at 6 AM as employer implements last best and final offer to caregivers.

01Absolut Care Westfield_02.jpg

Upstate, New York: Caregivers at four rural nursing homes owned by Living Legends Network including the same owners as the Taconic Health Care group overwhelmingly voted to authorize an indefinite strike last month in WNY. Workers rejected management's last best and final proposal as 95% voted in favor to strike in protest of unfair labor practices at the rural nursing homes.

The four for-profit facilities are owned and
operated by members of the Living
Legends Health Network
 which includes:
Absolut Care, McGuire Group, Taconic
Health Care
, and VestraCare. Living Legends Health Network group is managed by Long Island native, Edward Farbenblum1. In the Hudson Valley region, the same ownership group also operates Taconic Rehabilitation and Nursing at Beacon in Beacon, Taconic Rehabilitation and Nursing at Hopewell in Fishkill, and Taconic Rehabilitation at Ulster in Highland.

To date, 1199SEIU has filed three Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Board Charges against the For-Profit Nursing Home Chain alleging threats of retaliation against union members planning to strike, union busting by failing to rehire vacant bargaining unit positions, and bargaining in bad faith by implementing their last best and final offer without making movement at the table.

The current one-year contract covering 300 workers expired April 30th. Both sides have been negotiating since early February. In April, Nursing home workers held informational pickets at three of the sites in Allegany, Westfield and East Aurora located in rural Upstate, New York.

Union workers say the employer’s last best and final offer does not respect the hard work they do. “The pay isn’t good enough,” said Cheryl Aavik, Laundry Aide at Absolut Care. “I do more work than they think I do. I felt disrespected when I saw that they were only offering a very small pay increase,” said Aavik.

“Management effectively plans to implement their wage proposal without making any more movement at the table and workers noticed that – so they stood together and voted it down.

We believe the employer is negotiating in bad faith and we were made aware of verbal threats of retaliation against workers who join the strike. The union has the responsibility to submit Unfair Labor Board Practice Charges to the National Labor Relations Board when an employer is accused of violating the rights of its workers,” said Bogdanove.

Competitive wages to help recruit and retain more staff is a key sticking point for rural workers. “The McGuire Group is paying higher wages for the same work at other facilities they operate across WNY and these workers deserve nothing less,” said Bogdanove.

“I voted yes because I’ve been here 10 years and I deserve more than what they are offering me,” said Levita Palmer, Certified Nurse Assistant at Absolut Care.

Caregivers at Absolut Care of Allegany, Absolut Care of Aurora Park, Absolut Care of Orchard Brooke, and Absolut Care of Westfield (dba as RCA Servicer at Allegany, LLC, RCA Servicer at Aurora Park, LLC, RCA Servicer at Orchard Brooke, LLC, and RCA Servicer, LLC at Westfield) have been bargaining for a fair contract with their employer since early February.

Caregivers at the four rural facilities work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Home Health Aides, Patient Care Assistants, Medical Techs, Housekeepers, Cooks, and Dietary Workers

The McGuire Group management including Regional Vice-President Scott West, CEO Susan Grigg, RN, and Chief Human Resources Officer Colleen O'Connell-Jancevski, Esq are bargaining the contract with rural caregivers. 


Three of the four facilities in Western New York are currently undergoing a change in ownership through New York State Department of Health (project 201264, 201263, and 201267). The for-profit residential health care facilities will be owned by Michael Farbenblum, Menachem Tauber, and Mordechai Mendlowitz once the application for the change is approved by New York State Department of Health.

Both sides are set to return to negotiations on Monday, June 10 at 9 AM. If no agreement is reached, the indefinite strike at each of the facilities in Allegany, East Aurora, Orchard Park, and Westfield begins daily Thursday, June 13 from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM.


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.



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