SEIU Local 503 members at Avamere Junction City Nursing Home reached a tentative agreement on a first contract on February 7. They will join nearly 2000 other SEIU members from 37 nursing homes (including 9 other Avamere Homes) at a central bargaining table this summer.
The Junction City Bargaining Team (Hope Gave, Grace McGowan, Angela Lockwood, and Melissa Andreson) has been building support for the bargaining campaign since October 2012. These leaders remained focused on their top priorities and their co-workers stood in solidarity throughout each action, including sticker-ups, petitions, story-ups, weeples, and a 100% participation purple scrub day (apron day for the kitchen staff)!
In addition to winning several key improvements through the incorporation of the Master Agreement we have with Avamere, the team was determined to win a fair starting wage and address pay inequities.
Avamere initially came to the table with a starting rate of $10.20 for CNAs. This was based on a wage scale that they actually lowered for bargaining, which was unacceptable to the bargaining team. Despite management’s continued efforts to offer rates lower than those at any facility in Lane County, we stood our ground at the table, and backed it up with strong worksite actions.
In the end, we won a scale that starts CNAs with 1 year experience at $10.90 an hour, and this facility is now truly offering wages that demonstrate a union standard, as this is higher than several non-union facilities in the area. We also won, for the first time, an agreement that holds Avamere Corporate accountable to training facility managers on the new contract within 30 days of ratification.