Healthcare union gets votes for five-day strikes

·2 min read

Sep. 4—Union healthcare workers at Elderwood at Lockport have voted to give the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East authority to commence five-day strikes at the facility, along with members at five other facilities: Elderwood at Williamsville, Fiddler's Green Manor, Humboldt House and Gowanda Nursing & Rehabilitation.

In the wake of the union succeeding in ratifying contracts in other Western New York health facilities last week, Grace Bogdanove, 1199SEIU vice president for WNY Home Division was only able to say that, "We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach an agreement that meets the area standards set at other facilities in WNY."

Successful negotiations at McGuire Group-owned nursing homes in the area resulted in three-year contracts running through April 30, 2025 which include a 10-step wage scale for all jobs, a better pay rate for new workers and raises for caregivers who are long term.

The agreement also placed Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

The contract extended to licensed practical nurses, certified nurse assistants, personal care attendants, housekeeping, dietary aids, cooks, laundry aids and maintenance workers, and left dietary aid Joseph Grotky of Seneca Health Care to say in a union press release that, "This is the best contract I've ever seen."

Elderwood representative Chuck Hayes responded in a statement to questions from the US&J saying that, "To date, we have not received notice of 1199SEIU's intention to strike and that scenario has not surfaced in recent negotiations."

The company said it has been working with the union toward a "new labor agreement."

"Our efforts at the bargaining table have been made in good faith and we have engaged in meaningful dialog about the concerns SEIU has put forth to date," the statement reads. "Steady progress toward a new agreement has been made and we will continue our efforts until an agreement is reached."