Highland Park Nursing Home Workers in Wellsville Vote to Ratify First Union ContractFebruary 16, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tracey Harrison, 1199SEIU Vice-President | (585) 301-3835
Alternate: April Ezzell | (716) 449-1620
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE
Following a three-day strike last year, Wellsville caregivers win 3-year contract including 6.75% wage increase and benefits
Yesterday, more than 55 nursing home workers at Highland Park in Wellsville voted to ratify their first union contract, ending a very lengthy labor dispute with the nursing homeowner that begin in July 2018. after nearly three years of negotiating for a fair contract with the out-of-town for-profit employer. The labor dispute was marked by multiple worker protests, include a three-day strike. Workers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
In September, caregivers held a three-day strike at the facility in Wellsville after negotiations for their contract broke down. Shortly after their strike, workers complained of unfair labor practices and the union filed 11 serious labor board charges including wrongful termination, discrimination, unsafe work environment, retaliation, and refusal to bargain.
“It’s been an exhausting 31 months. We lost a lot of good employees through the fight, but, hopefully some will come back now that we have a good contract in-place and we have a voice in the workplace when things go wrong. Now they have to listen to us! We’ve been through hell, but it was all worth it! We stood together, through it all and now we know we can do it and the next time, we will be ready,” said Cindy Costello, Licensed Practical Nurse.
Nursing home workers are excited about their first union contract. “I am overjoyed we have come to an agreement. I am looking forward to the positive changes coming our way,” says Ruby Horning, Certified Nurse Assistant.
Under the terms of the new contract, union members will receive a ratification bonus along with a total wage increase of 6.75% broken down into three equal parts across the three-year contract. Caregivers will receive 2.25% in June 2021, 2.25% in June 2022, and 2.25% in June 2023. Workers will now receive sick and personal days, increased employer provided contributions to their retirement, designated holidays, and an increase in vacation accruals. With the union, works will now have access to the grievance and arbitration process when issues arise in the workplace.
The three-year union contract includes benefits to help attract and retain qualified staff to care for local residents. Certified Nurse Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses will have an established wage scale based on years of experience. “I am so happy to get a contract signed! It’s been a long time,” says Beth Little a Certified Nurse Assistant.
“This contract settlement could not have come at a better time. Many staff have expressed their concerns regarding staffing mandating and the need to increase the amount of time needed to provide quality patient care. Workers are confident that their contract will provide them the opportunity to address a lot of those concerns that impact patient care,” Tracey Harrison, 1199SEIU Vice-President.
Highland Park is owned by Excelsior Group, LLC, a New York based for-profit corporation. Excelsior Group, LLC owns eleven other for-profit facilities in Ithaca, New Jersey, and the greater NYC area.
1199SEIU represents Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Laundry, Housekeeping, and Maintenance Workers at Highland Park.
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.