For Immediate Release: October 30, 2017
On October 26, seventy-five professional and technical employees at Absolut Care at Orchard Park and Aurora Park voted overwhelmingly to become members of 1199SEIU, the powerful healthcare workers union.
The next big step takes place at the bargaining table—during contract negotiations, the new union members will address pressing issues like frequent staff turnover, stagnant wages and a fair workplace. LPNs, C.N.A.s, dietary and housekeeping workers at the two nursing homes are already 1199 members.
The caregivers cited high staff turnover and a lack of respect from management as reasons they decided to organize a union at the two Absolut Care homes located within 10 miles of each other on the outskirts of Buffalo.
Ray McNamara, a speech therapist at Absolut Care in Aurora Park, said: “I voted to join the union so that we could strive together to win pay increases, improved health insurance and job security. We see our colleagues who are already part of the union winning annual pay increases and we have been left behind, despite our professional training.”
Michael Zent, a physical therapist at Absolut Care in Orchard Park said, “We have a situation where as salaried employees we have to work long hours without any further pay. That’s why I joined a union—to be able to negotiate a contract that sets out our conditions in writing. At the moment we have people with the same job titles, who do the same work and receive different salaries.”
The members of the new bargaining unit include occupational, physical and speech therapists, dieticians and social workers, as well as physical and occupational therapist assistants and a sports trainer.
The Absolut caregivers are confident that as 1199 members they will be able to enrich quality and continuity of care for their residents and improve the quality of life for workers and residents alike.
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.