1199SEIU Nursing Home Workers at Elderwood at Lockport, Elderwood at Williamsville, Gowanda Nursing & Rehabilitation, and Newfane Rehabilitation & Nursing Center Ratify AgreementsSeptember 9, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: April Ezzell, 1199SEIU Communications (716)449-1620
Workers at four more for-profit facilities overwhelmingly Ratify Agreements achieving area standards, while workers at Humboldt House & Fiddler’s Green May Prepare for 5-Day Strikes
Buffalo, NY – Nearly 350 Nursing Home Workers at four area for-profit facilities overwhelmingly ratified multi-year contracts late last week, while workers at two facilities authorized 5-day strikes in their continued fight for a fair contract. Caregivers are part of a joint campaign of more than 1,200 nursing home workers at 12 for-profit facilities across Western New York who held one-day strikes mid-July. Settlements reached at an additional four facilities late last week, now bring the total of for-profit nursing home settlements to ten of twelve, leaving workers at Humboldt House for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Buffalo and Fiddler’s Green Manor in Springville without labor contracts. Nursing Home workers are represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East.
Workers covered by the ratified agreements provide care at Elderwood at Williamsville, Elderwood at Lockport, Gowanda Nursing & Rehabilitation, and Newfane Rehabilitation & Health Center and work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Personal Care Attendants, Housekeeping, Dietary Aides, Cooks, Laundry Aides, and Maintenance Workers.
The new labor deal for workers at Elderwood at Lockport and Elderwood at Williamsville includes significant wage adjustments for experienced workers, 3% pension increases each year of the agreement, increases in shift differentials, a new weekend differential, and increased Paid Time-Off buy back. Workers also secured a $15 per hour start rate for all service workers beginning next year. The contract also includes a retroactive bonus. The forprofit employer has also agreed to Juneteenth as a paid holiday. The new agreement for both Elderwood facilities runs through June 30, 2024.
The new three-year agreement at Gowanda Nursing & Rehabilitation includes a new standard starting rate for Licensed Practical Nurses, wage scales based on experience in all job titles, $15 starting rate for all service workers beginning next year, additional wage increases for long term employees, increased shift differential, and mentor pay. Union healthcare workers will also get 3% pension increases each year of the contract, along with increased employer contributions to dental and optical. The new three-year agreement with Gowanda Nursing & Rehabilitation runs through April 30, 2025.
The new three-year agreement for workers at Newfane Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Niagara County includes $15 per hour for all service workers, wage scales for all job titles, additional raises for long-term employees, increased employer contributions to health insurance, and 3% increase to pension contributions each year of the contract. Workers will also get Juneteenth as a paid holiday. The new three-year agreement runs until December 2025.
While workers celebrate new contracts at ten of the twelve facilities meeting area standards for nursing home workers, that puts a great deal of pressure on workers to reach agreements at Humboldt House and Fiddler’s Green Manor. Workers at the two remaining facilities are also part of the joint contract campaign and have overwhelmingly voted to authorize 5-day strikes. Workers continue to fight for better staffing levels, wage scales for experienced workers, and $15 for service workers.
“It feels like our employer and the owners don’t care about us,” said Lorraine Beasley, Activities Aide at Humboldt House in Buffalo. “They care more about money and profits than their employees and residents,” said Beasley.
“We can’t retain or even recruit workers if they don’t pay a descent living wage,” said Duane Skiver, Licensed Practical Nurse at Fiddler’s Green Manor. “I feel like if everyone else is able to come to the table to pay their employees what they deserve, there’s no reason that the owners of Fiddler’s can’t do the same,” said Skiver. If no agreement can be reached, union healthcare workers at Humboldt House in Buffalo and Fiddler’s Green Manor in Springville, plan to hold 5-day strikes this month. Fiddler’s Green Manor is primarily owned and operated by Jeffrey Goldstein and Chaim Lowenbraun. Humboldt House is also primarily owned and operated Jeffrey Goldstein.
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. www.1199seiu.org