Healthcare Workers’ Vote to Unionize at Elderwood Grand Island is Certified!

January 17, 2017


Contacts: Todd Hobler, 716.913.6014 | Mindy Berman, 518.229.0486

Nursing Home Workers Are Newest 1199SEIU Members In Upstate New York.

Buffalo, N.Y.— After a long haul, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and service workers at Elderwood Grand Island, a western New York nursing home, finally had their vote to organize certified by The National Labor Relations Board; they are now members of 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, the most powerful healthcare workers’ union in the country.

Background: On October 6, the workers at Elderwood Grand Island Nursing Home voted overwhelmingly to join 1199SEIU. However, Elderwood, one of the largest nursing home networks in New York, refused to respect that vote and filed frivolous and financially costly objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In part, the workers say, management was attempting to suppress their vote by challenging their ballots.

A hearing was held in November to consider the objections and challenges and at a trial in early December, the NLRB ruling rejected all of managements objections and ruled in favor of 1199SEIU. The ruling said that those ballots are to be counted and included in the total. Still, Elderwood appealed.

In the most recent decision on January 6, the Regional NLRB Director upheld the decision of the hearing. The 19 ballots challenged by employer were open on Friday, January 13. After the count, with joy and relief, the workers’ announced that they won the vote and could finally move on to the next step of preparing for collective bargaining.

"What kind of company will spend over $300,000 on attorneys to avoid respecting us and hearing our voices? That money could have improved resident care, working conditions, or necessary supplies? We won the election, we won the appeal, now it's time for Elderwood to stop hiding and bargain with us," said Rachael Kerrison an LPN.

Concerns about pay, benefits, job security, staffing and a voice on the job are some of the reasons cited by workers who voted to join 1199SEIU months ago.

"I've been telling people about 1199 since we started talking about organizing," said Marcelle Wilkins, a certified nursing assistant. It's the only way to make sure the employer will listens to our concerns. Today is just another showing that we are together, we are strong, and we deserve a voice at the table!"


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.