Nursing Home Workers At Second Elderwood Site To Picket Over Poor Staffing and Low Wages On Weds 5/25!

May 23, 2022

Contact: April Ezzell, (716) 449-1620

Interview Opportunity

Elderwood’s Operators Withdrew Profits, While Service Workers Earn Less Than $15 per Hour Caring for COVID Patients

WHO: Nursing Home Workers

WHAT: Informational Picket

WHEN: Wednesday, May 25 2022 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
3:15 PM Press Conference

WHERE: Elderwood at Lockport, 104 Old Niagara Road, Lockport, NY 14094

WHY: More than 50 nursing home workers are fighting for a fair contract following seven months of negotiations with Elderwood. Their union contract expired December 31, 2021. Nursing home workers at Elderwood at Lockport are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

Elderwood at Lockport workers join Elderwood at Williamsville workers in their demand for a fair contract with competitive wages to help recruit and retain workers. Service workers at both sites earn the area minimum wage of $13.20 per hour. Union contracts at both sites are now expired and workers at the Lockport site also say short staffing is a problem.

“I have been an aide for years and earning less than $15 per hour and I was getting pulled in to care for COVID patients,” says Jennifer Smith, Certified Nurse Assistant. “How do they expect us to feed our children or pay our rent? We have to pick up extra shifts just to manage our money. We are working so many hours and how are these residents getting the care they need when we are physically and mentally exhausted.” says Smith.

“The residents are the ones who are suffering,” says Marcie Livergood, Licensed Practical Nurse at the facility in Lockport. “They are multi-millionaires and don’t want to give us any money,” says Livergood. Low wages contribute to high turnover rates, leaving workers caring for too many residents, risking quality care.

Staffing at both facilities is critically low. “Our residents deserve safe staffing,” says Janeen Tagg, Licensed Practical Nurse. “They deserve to be taken care of properly and respectfully,” says Tagg.

Low wages also contribute to staffing problems at the facility in Lockport. “We’ve been the lowest on the wage scale in our area for a long time and for the work that we do, we deserve competitive wages. We didn’t get any extra pay during COVID. We feel defeated, like the employer doesn’t care about us,” says Tagg.

“Elderwood is one of six for-profit, out of town employer groups we are currently engaged in contract negotiations with,” says Grace Bogdanove, 1199SEIU Vice-President for WNY Nursing Homes. “Unsurprisingly, Elderwood and the other employers have presented near identical wage proposals, refusing to meet recently won area wage standards [1] during a time of critical staffing and on the heels of much-needed nursing home reform.[2] 1199 members care for the most vulnerable members of our community, and the employers’ proposals aim to suppress wages in order to maximize profits at the cost of quality resident care,” says Bogdanove.

1199SEIU represents nearly 1,000 unionized nursing home workers whose contracts are expired including both Elderwood at Williamsville and Lockport. Union Nursing Home workers at Autumnview Manor, Buffalo Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, Ellicott Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, Fiddler's Green Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Garden Gate Manor, Gowanda Rehab & Nursing, Humboldt Nursing Home, Newfane Rehabilitation, North Gate Manor, and Seneca Health Care Center all have expired or soon to expire contracts. The twelve facilities with expired or soon to expire union contracts are located across Western New York and are owned by 6 different for-profit out of town ownership groups.

New York State Nursing Home Reform laws could make negotiations more difficult leading to potential job actions and involving elected officials in contract fights. Six of the twelve facility ownership groups currently in negotiations with the union are participants in a lawsuit against new nursing home reform laws that set requirements on spending. [3] The new law requires that owners spend 70% of their nursing home revenue on direct care to residents, 40% of which is to be spent on staffing the facility.[4]

Unionized caregivers at the facility in Lockport work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Maintenance Workers, Dietary Aides, and Housekeeping Aides.

On background:

Elderwood is a for-profit, out-of-town company with more than 50 nursing homes and care facilities across New York State, Vermont and Rhode Island [5]. Elderwood is refusing to pay workers at a rate that is close to the area standards set at other nursing homes [6]. Yet in 2020, Elderwood reported more than $3.7 million dollars in related party or non-arms length transactions, such as rent, real estate, administrative and pharmaceutical costs to companies owners are invested in.[7] Between 2018-2020, Elderwood at Williamsville withdrew more than $3.5 million dollars in equity,[8] yet most service workers make much less than $15 per hour for the essential work they provide at the area nursing home.

Elderwood’s staffing crisis is not just a local problem. Of the 15 Elderwood facilities located across New York State, 12 facilities report higher than 50% turnover rates amongst staff.[9] At least six of the same 15 facilities have low staffing ratios according to US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.[10]

For-profit Elderwood made an attempt to add Weinberg Campus to their portfolio. Elderwood planned to purchase Weinberg Campus in Getzville [11],[12] but that deal fell through around the same time that union workers at Weinberg Campus won some of the highest wage rates in the area.

For more details on related party transactions, please refer to this news article.[13]


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.

[1] Union nursing home workers at Amherst's Weinberg Campus ratify new labor deal | Business Local |

[2] ‘Not an industry that people should profit from’: A look at NY’s proposed nursing home profit cap | WBFO

[3] Home for the Aged of the Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Basset, 1:21-cv-01384-BKS-CFH, at Complaint (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 29, 2021)

[4] New York Governor Delays New Staffing Rules, Profit Caps As Nursing Homes File Suit - Skilled Nursing News

[5] Our Companies | Elderwood

[6] Buffalo nursing home picket turns into celebration of new contract, pay raises | WBFO

[7] NYS Department of Health, Residential Health Care Facility Cost Reports (2020), Elderwood at Williamsville (Opcert #1421307) and Elderwood at Lockport (Opcert #3101308)

[8] NYS DOH, 2018-2020 RHCF Cost Reports, search on 15 Elderwood Facilities, at Exhibit B, Statement of Changes in Fund Balances, Equity or Net Assets, at Unrestricted Withdrawals of Equity (column 1806, line 16).

[9] U.S Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Nursing Home Provider Information, available online at:

[10] U.S Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Nursing Home Provider Information, available online at:

[11] What's next for Weinberg Campus in Amherst? | Business Local |

[12] How Weinberg Campus plans to remain a nonprofit senior care provider after terminated sale | WBFO

[13] Nursing homes will soon have to report deals with 'non-arms length' companies | Local News |