Today Nursing Home Workers at 4 For-Profit Facilities to Hold Informational Pickets Across WNYJune 16, 2022
Contact: AprilE@1199.org, (716) 449-1620
Visual & Interview Opportunity
Caregivers Demand Fair Union Contracts Including $15 per hour, Standard Wage Scales Based on Experience, and Better Staffing Levels While For-Profit Downstate/NJ Owners File Lawsuit Against NYS Nursing Home Reforms Requiring 3.5 Hours of Care and Investments to Improve Staffing Levels For Residents
WHO: For-Profit Nursing Home Workers
WHAT: Informational Pickets at 4 Nursing Homes today
WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2022, Interview Opportunity 2:00pm-2:30pm
WHERE: Autumn View Health Care Facility, 4650 Southwestern Blvd, Hamburg, NY 14075
Garden Gate Health Care Facility, 2365 Union Rd, Cheektowaga, NY 14227
North Gate Health Care Facility, 7624 Nash Rd, North Tonawanda, NY 14120
Seneca Health Care Center, 2987 Seneca St, West Seneca, NY 14224
WHY: More than 1,200 for-profit nursing home workers at 12 for-profit homes across WNY whose union contracts expired April 30, 2022 joined together in their fight for fair wages from out-of-town ownership groups based in New York City/New Jersey. Caregivers are asking for a $15 minimum wage for service workers, higher start rates for new employees, and wage scales based on experience. Workers at 4 forprofit facilities are set to hold informational pickets today to bring attention to lack of fair wages and poor staffing levels. Union workers at Fiddler’s Green in Springville held a picket yesterday, bringing the total number of job actions to 5 this week. Caregivers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
Today, four McGuire group facilities owned by Edward Farbenblum2 including Autumn View Health Care Center in Hamburg, Garden Gate Health Care Facility in Cheektowaga, North Gate Manor in North Tonawanda, and Seneca Health Care Center in West Seneca will join a coordinated campaign to hold informational pickets. Caregivers at Fiddler’s Green Manor in Springville owned and operated by Jeffrey Goldstein and Chaim Lowenbraun held a picket yesterday.3
It’s not about me, it’s about the residents, it’s about the dignity for the residents,” says Awilda Villanueva, Certified Nurse Assistant at Seneca Health Care Center. When we say contract it’s not just about staff, it’s about the residents. McGuire is thinking about dollar signs and not the dignity of our residents that we serve,” says Villanueva.
As of 2020, these four McGuire group facilities owed more than $33.4 million in related party expenses, 4 a majority of which goes back to the McGuire group directly. Related party expenses include management fees and paying themselves back a percentage of rent and payments to an affiliated company called Vestracare.5 This month, 1199SEIU announced a joint campaign of more than 1,200 for-profit nursing home workers who will plan coordinated job actions across our region to fight for a $15 minimum wage for service workers, higher starting rates for new caregivers, and wage scales for experienced caregivers - all to improve critically short-staffed for-profit homes trying to meet New York State’s requirement for 3.5 hours6 of care per resident per day. Caregivers at the four McGuire facilities work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Personal Care Attendants, Housekeeping, Dietary Aides, Laundry Aides, and Maintenance Workers.
Nursing home workers at 12-for profit facilities are coordinating efforts to win better wages by making their voices heard. This month, local caregivers told stories to Congressman Brian Higgins and other elected officials at a closed-door roundtable, highlighting the importance of trying to provide care to the most vulnerable residents while fighting for-profit downstate companies for fair wages! 7
Last month, workers at Elderwood at Lockport8 and Elderwood at Williamsville9 held informational pickets to draw attention to staffing issues and low wages, while for-profit owners earn millions through related-party transactions.10 For-profit ownership groups like Elderwood are refusing to negotiate wages close to area standards11. 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 company’s owners are invested in. 12 Between 2018-2020, Elderwood at Williamsville withdrew more than $3.5 million dollars in equity,13 yet most service workers make much less than $15 per hour for the essential work they provide at the area nursing home.
For more information on related-party or non arms-length transactions, please go to: Nursing homes will soon have to report deals with 'non-arms length' companies | Local News | buffalonews.com
1 Nursing homes file lawsuit seeking to overturn NY's minimum staffing law | WBFO
2 New CEO named to oversee McGuire Group, Absolut Care, VestraCare networks - Buffalo Business First (bizjournals.com)
3 1199 SEIU Upstate NY | Facebook
4 Sources for 1-6: New York State Department of Health, 2020 RHCF Cost Reports, at Notes to Financials (Notes 7-11), and Schedule 16 (Part III(1)).
5 Laura Curran names Edward Farbenblum as NuHealth board chairman - Newsday
7 Local nursing home workers join nationwide fight for reform | WUTV (wutv29.com)
8 Union members picket outside Elderwood at Lockport | Local News | lockportjournal.com
9 “They Can’t Call Us ‘Heroes,’ They Have To Show It!’” - 1199 SEIU-Represented Nursing Home Workers Hold Informational Picket Outside Suburban Buffalo Elderwood Facility To Publicly Call For ‘Better Wages & Increased Staff’ - WNY Labor Today: Your On-Line Labor Newspaper, Bringing You Labor News From Across The Nation, New York State & Western New York
10 Nursing home industry financial practice called out | Local News | lockportjournal.com
11 Buffalo nursing home picket turns into celebration of new contract, pay raises | WBFO
12 NYS Department of Health, Residential Health Care Facility Cost Reports (2020), Elderwood at Williamsville (Opcert #1421307) and Elderwood at Lockport (Opcert #3101308)
13 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).