Federal Mediator To Join Talks Between 1199SEIU & Rochester Regional for Unity Living Center

February 7, 2023


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

Interview Opportunity

Nursing Home Workers at Unity Living Center Are Not Only Union Workers Demanding Better Wages & Staffing Levels from Rochester’s Largest Healthcare Network

Rochester, NY - More than 100 nursing home workers at Unity Living Center have been working without a contract since July 31, 2022 when their three-year labor agreement expired. While the employer and the union have agreed to extend the contract multiple times, they have been unable to reach a new agreement. Caregivers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare workers union in the country.

Rochester Regional Health is dealing with multiple labor issues at their hospital and nursing home. Last month nurses represented by Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals held a rally to draw attention to staffing problems at the hospital and lack of a union contract. Nurses there have been in contract talks with the Rochester Regional for months without much progress as well attempting to reach their first labor deal1. Nursing home workers at Unity Living Center are facing similar staffing issues and concerns over low wages. Both Unity Living Center and Rochester General Hospital are operated by Rochester Regional Health2.

Union members at Unity Living Center are demanding better wages and incentives to help recruit and retain staff to help care for residents.

“We work 16 hour shifts five days a week to make sure our residents are being well cared for,” said Arleaser Brady, Licensed Practical Nurse. “When we are short staffed, our residents don’t get the face-to-face time with us. They don’t get the care they pay for or that’s promised to them. We worked 36 residents with two aides on one unit. It’s unsafe for us and our residents,” said Brady.

“These nursing home workers are standing up to their employer to help protect their residents,” said Tracey Harrison, 1199SEIU Vice-President for Rochester/Corning area. “They want to be able to provide the best possible care but can not do that with short staffing levels. We are seeing more and more workers across the country demanding a union and a fair contract. It’s time that this employer respect the rights of union workers and come to the table offering them a fair contract that helps to recruit and retain more staff – enough is enough,” said Harrison.

A Federal Mediator from Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) will join labor talks in an effort to help both sides come to an agreement.

Caregivers at Unity Living Center work full-time, part-time or per diem as Certified Nurse Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Staff Nurse, Therapy Aide, Program Assistant, Recreation Therapist I, Resident Services Representative, Resident Services Secretary, Senior Certified Nurse Assistant, Program Assistant in Adult Day Care, and Physical Therapy Assistant.

Both sides are set to return to the bargaining table on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. ###

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

1 Rochester General Hospital nurses demand change | WHAM (13wham.com)

2 Unity Living Center | Rochester Regional Health