Rehabilitation Workers at Two Absolut Care Nursing Homes Authorize Week-Long Strike in Near Unanimous VoteJune 23, 2023
Federal Mediator joined talks between 1199SEIU & Absolut Care as workers demand competitive contract that protects wages and benefits. For-profit employer proposes significant cuts to wages & benefits for incoming new hires which could impact ability to staff rehab units for residents.
Buffalo, NY - More than 25 union professional and technical nursing home workers at Absolut Care of Aurora Park and Absolut Care of Allegany voted to authorize a week-long strike should an agreement not be reached with the employer. Caregivers have been working without a contract since their 2-year contract expired April 30, 2023. Union nursing home workers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
Caregivers at Absolut Care of Aurora Park and Absolut Care of Allegany (dba as RCA Servicer at Aurora Park, LLC & RCA Servicer at Allegany, LLC) have been bargaining for a fair contract for several months without much progress. This month, workers held an informational picket to draw attention to the lack of a fair contract. Union workers are demanding a competitive contract with fair wages and longevity pay to retain staff, but also to help recruit new workers.
Professional and Technical union nursing home workers at Absolut Care of Aurora Park and Absolut Care of Allegany work as full and part time Occupational Therapists, Speech/Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, Dieticians, Social Workers, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA), and Sports Trainers.
The employer’s current proposals to cut paid time off, health insurance benefits, and other benefits for newly hired workers would make it extremely difficult to recruit professional and technical workers for any open vacancies, leaving current workers to pick up additional work to care for residents.
Professional & Technical nursing home workers say that protecting their hard-earned benefits will be key to a fair contract, following their picket earlier this month. “We want respect in the form of recognition of everything we do,” said Joshua Previte, Occupational Therapist. We deserve better pay to compete with other facilities and so that new workers will want to come here and the current workers will want to say,” said Previte.
“We are fighting for better benefits for new hires as management currently wants to reduce what they would offer,” said Previte.
“Our workload is overwhelming and it makes it hard to provide the quality care our residents deserve,” said Shannon Earl-Durolek, Speech Therapist. “In order to get the help we need, the employer needs to offer competitive wages and a benefit package. We have people come in and interview, but once they see the wages & benefits, they don’t accept the offer and others have left their jobs for an increase in pay elsewhere,” said Earl-Durolek.
Absolut Care of Aurora Park and Absolut Care of Allegany are currently undergoing a change in ownership through New York State Department of Health (project 201264). The for-profit residential health care facilities will be owned by Orly Lieberman, Michael Farbenblum, Menachem Tauber and Mordechai Mendlowitz once the application for the change is approved by New York State Department of Health.
1199SEIU and RCA Servicer at Aurora Park, LLC & RCA Servicer at Allegany, LLC are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on June 27, 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