1199SEIU represents 102 members at Westfield Center,
a nursing home in northeastern New Jersey. Workers
at the institution care for seniors as well as patients
undergoing rehabilitation. Many of their patients are
Medicaid- and Medicare-dependent. Over the last
few months, workers from Westfield participated in
a campaign through the Union’s labor-management
partnership, the Nursing Home Alliance, to increase
Medicaid funding for nursing home residents. Through
their efforts—meeting with state leaders and rallying
at the capitol in Trenton—1199 members won an extra
$5.25 million for nursing homes.
“What drives me to come to work every day is the relationships we build with the residents,” said Samira Suggs, who has worked as a recreation therapist at Westfield Center for six years, “It shows that you can have a good job and have fun at the same time.”
Rachel Bergman is a housekeeper at the Westfield Center.
Wanda Edmundson is a recreation assistant at Westfield Center. “Without us, some of our residents wouldn’t have anybody to talk to,” she says. She was a receptionist until three years ago.
Hermancia Santil is a certified nursing assistant at the Westfield Center.
Stephen Veliakath is a restorative aide at the Westfield Center.
Ovixon Constant has been a housekeeper at Westfield Center for 12 years. “More nursing home funding is important because every employee tries to make a difference, but often times we are working short.”