1199SEIU Statement on Adenovirus Outbreak at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

October 24, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Contact: Bryn Lloyd-Bollard
bryn.lloydbollard@1199.og
732-606-5949

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East represents 136 workers at Wanaque Center including certified nursing assistants, dietary aides, housekeepers, and laundry aides.

Below is a statement from Ron McCalla, Assistant Division Director and Vice President at Large of 1199SEIU:

“The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU are heartbroken for the children who have lost their lives due to the outbreak of adenovirus at Wanaque Center and express our deepest sympathies to their families. As we grieve, we are urgently seeking clarity from the facility administration regarding the processes being put in place to safeguard patients.

“Our union has made a request for information from Wanaque Center to determine what steps management is taking to ensure that staff are provided with the supplies, information, and support they need to ensure the safety of patients and prevent further spread of the virus.

“We are deeply concerned by reports suggesting that Wanaque Center may have kept the severity of this outbreak from family members and staff. It is imperative that a full accounting take place of when and how this outbreak began and how it is now being addressed.

“Since new for-profit ownership took over at Wanaque Center in 2014, workers have expressed serious concerns over worsening staffing levels, lack of adequate supplies, and severe cutbacks to job standards. Publically-available data show that Wanaque Center earned nearly $2 million in profit over this period.

“As our members work around the clock to care for the patients at Wanaque Center and contain the spread of this illness, we continue to push for changes to bring greater accountability, transparency, and higher standards to this industry.”

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1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in New Jersey and nationwide. We represent over 16,000 healthcare families in New Jersey and over 400,000 total members throughout New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, and Washington, D.C.   Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.