MEDIA ADVISORY CONTACT:

Todd Hobler, 716.913.6014/Mindy Berman, 518.229.0486

When: Tuesday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: Absolut at Aurora Park, 292 Main St., East Aurora Interviews and Video/Photo Opportunities throughout the day

Background: With a contract that expired on April 30, 2017 and a couple of months of negotiations that have not resulted in agreement, the 1199SEIU Absolut Bargaining Committee, representing 900 workers at Absolute Care nursing homes, voted unanimously to hold an informational picket, after management refused to budge on what members are calling ‘meager wage proposals’.

The employer’s proposals for wage increases are mostly mandated by minimum wage law, essentially leaving workers at or pennies above the new state minimum wage and below industry standards. Experienced workers who have more years of service (and not only have more experience on the job, but also have shown their commitment) currently receive wages above the starting rate, yet under the employer’s proposal, they would be rewarded with an increase of 12 cents every 6 months (twice a year).

Heather Webber, a C.N.A. for the last 4 years at Absolut Care of Westfield said,“Absolut Care needs to realize that we are not dollar signs for their pockets -- we are caregivers for someone’s loved one. All we are asking for is a fair contract that values our work.”

Tamar Cooper a C.N.A. for 6 years at Absolut Care of Orchard Park said
, The Absolut owners have offered nothing that is fair or shows respect for the work we do. They say they want all their facilities to have five-star ratings, but those of us who actually provide the care and services get paid one-star wages. A fair contract and a workplace where the staff is valued and appreciated will go a long way in improving quality of life for both workers and residents.”

Absolut offered no improvement in contributions to employee health benefits, which are low by industry standards and their proposal added only a nickel to our retirement plan.

There is a bargaining session scheduled for Monday, May 22.

1199SEIU members at the 9 Absolut facilities include, but are not limited to LPNs, C.N.A.s, and dietary, housekeeping and laundry workers.

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.