HEALTHCARE WORKERS AT BANKRUPT DELMAR LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES ANNOUNCE TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT WITH PROSPECTIVE NEW OWNERSFebruary 12, 2020
Contact: Mindy Berman | 518.229.0486
February 13 Town Hall Meeting Is Canceled
Contract provides that:
• Caregivers will keep their health insurance
• Caregivers will keep their union and their contract
• Caregivers will keep their jobs
Background: In December, when The Lutheran Care Network (TLCN), owners of Good Samaritan & Kenwood Manor in Delmar filed for bankruptcy, they asked the court to gut the workers’ collective bargaining agreement as a condition of purchase. This was a slap in the face to the workers, who had spent months making clear to any prospective owner that undermining the health benefits in their contract would force experienced caregivers to leave, making short-staffing worse and putting quality resident care at risk. At that point, challenged daily by short staffing and a lack of supplies, workers (reluctantly) voted to strike. A few days later, prospective buyers, Centers Health Care, agreed to negotiate with the workers and their union. A tentative agreement was announced this morning, February 12.
Like all tentative contract agreements, the union members must vote and ratify before it can take effect. The vote is taking place at Good Samaritan today, February 12 and at Kenwood Manor, tomorrow, February 13.
John Makoyi, an LPN and 1199 delegate said, “This is a relief. Knowing we can keep our health benefits is an incredible victory. But, we also know this is only the first step. We are hoping the bankruptcy hearing will go smoothly so that new operators can come in and start to invest in the facility. That investment must do what is necessary to improve staffing and help to recruit and retain a stable workforce.”
Marcia Hanson’s husband Paul is a resident at Good Samaritan. She said, “What has been happening isn’t fair to anyone. The caregivers can’t be in two or three places at once. If they are with one resident, they can’t give attention to the other people who need care and comfort. It’s stressful for everyone. I’m pleased that the contract issue has been settled, but how do we know there still won’t be staffing problems? I want to meet with the new operator and ask a lot of questions.”
What’s next: The sale of the facilities to Centers is first contingent upon the agreement with 1199SEIU, which is expected to be ratified by wide margins. The bankruptcy hearing is on February 25, moved from today, February 12 upon the request of Centers Health Care. If and when the court approves, the Department of Health will become involved and appoint a Receiver, which will be, more than likely, the Centers. That means while not yet the owners, Centers can operate the facilities while the Certificate of Need (CON) to approve the final sale is pending. The CON process can take up to a year, but TLCN will no longer be involved and the workers’ contract with Centers can take effect.
NOTE: THE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW, FEBRUARY 13 AT THE BETHLEHEM YMCA HAS BEEN CANCELED.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 450,000 nurses and caregivers throughout New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.