1199SEIU Members at Niagara County Nursing Home Reach 1-Year Tentative Agreement

June 9, 2024

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Contact: April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620
1199SEIU Communications

Nursing Home Workers at Schoellkopf Health Center in Niagara Falls quickly reach 1-year Tentative Agreement while rural nursing home workers at 4 Absolut Care facilities plan to strike over unfair labor practices

Niagara Falls, NY – More than 70 nursing home workers at Schoellkopf Health Center, represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East reached a new 1-year Tentative Agreement with their employer late Thursday. Schoellkopf Health Center is the nursing home attached to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

"I am very pleased with the results and mutual respect with hard work that it took to make this contract one of the best ever,” said Earl Pugh, Licensed Practical Nurse.  “We worked to combine our bargaining units into one agreement.  This was a collective effort. Congratulations to our team and to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for leading the way to show they value employees at Schoellkopf,” said Pugh.

“We are thrilled to have reached this tentative agreement at Schoellkopf,” said Grace Bogdanove, 1199SEIU Vice-President for WNY Nursing Homes. “Management came to the table earnestly and collaboratively to ensure that recruitment and retention were a collective priority. It is incredibly disappointing that our negotiations with Absolut Care are in stark contrast to Schoellkopf’s approach, which put workers and quality resident care first. Absolut Care management has approached negotiations with a focus on keeping their facilities some of the lowest paid in the area and putting profit over workers, with millions of dollars spent on related party transactions rather than investing in the healthcare workers who provide care to some of the most vulnerable members of our rural communities,” said Bogdanove. 

The one-year tentative agreement includes Juneteenth and Labor Day as paid holidays and a new 10-step wage scale with additional longevity increases for employees with up to 25 years of service.  In addition, the tentative agreement includes an average 11% wage increase retroactive to May 1st with some workers receiving up to 34%, increased pension contributions of $1.10 per hour, increases to shift differential, increases to employer contribution on dental and optical plans, and increases to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) charge pay, and a new $3.00 differential for LPN’s who take on additional responsibilities in the event of short staffing. 

Nursing home workers at Schoellkopf will vote on the agreement soon. 

1199SEIU represents Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Unit Clerks and Laundry Aides.  

The new agreement in Niagara Falls comes on the heels of 4 strikes set to begin at Absolut Care nursing homes in Allegany, Aurora Park, Westfield, and Orchard Park next Thursday at 6 AM. 

While negotiations are set to resume ahead of the strikes, the union representing workers filed 3 unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers at 4 Absolut Care homes.  

1199SEIU alleges that Absolut Care is bargaining in bad faith when the employer unilaterally implemented their last best and final offer leaving workers below the area standard of wages and benefits of other nursing home workers in the WNY area. 1199SEIU alleges that Absolut Care refuses to fill vacant bargaining unit positions - eroding the union positions and threatening workers who plan to participate in the strike. 

Both sides are set to return to the bargaining table on Monday, June 10 at 9 AM. If no agreement is reached, the unfair labor practice strike at 4 Absolut Care nursing homes in rural Western New York begins Thursday, June 13 at 6 AM. 


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.