Agreement Includes Safety Provisions for Nursing Home Residents, Workers
Meadow Park Health and Specialty Care workers defeated potentially dangerous proposals from Fortis (Meadow Park Management) and succeeded in reaching a tentative agreement that will support Meadow Park resident and worker safety.
Meadow Park workers had been deeply concerned about resident safety issues from management’s initial proposals, which included forced overtime policies and limitations on workers’ ability to coordinate care from one shift to the next. Management’s agreement to back off these proposals allowed workers to cancel a strike that had been unanimously authorized by workers.
“We felt strongly that the administration’s original proposals weren’t healthy for workers and weren’t safe for residents,” said Fay Westfall, certified nursing assistant at Meadow Park. “Workers stood up for what was right, and got the administration to back off the provisions that could dangerously impact our residents.”
In addition to preserving resident safety, workers also secured a 4% wage increase each year of the two-year agreement, raising certified nursing assistants’ average wage of $13/hour to more than $14/hour in 2017. The wage increase demonstrates a commitment to compensating workers fairly for the challenging work they do, while ensuring that Meadow Park can continue to recruit and retain quality workers.
Congratulations to Meadow Park workers for this exciting victory!
Certified nursing assistants, cooks, and many more workers at Meadow Park Health and Specialty Care in St. Helens have unanimously voted to strike in response to ongoing contentious negotiations over patient care and safety, as well as working conditions.
“I can’t afford to strike, but I also can’t afford not to strike,” said Fay Westfall, certified nursing assistant at Meadow Park. “What they’re asking us to do isn’t healthy for us workers, and it isn’t safe for residents.”
Workers cited a number of resident safety issues at the bargaining table that prompted the strike vote, including:
- Forced overtime policies that require staff to work double shifts. Workers are concerned that forced double-shift overtime makes for physically and mentally exhausted workers who can’t perform at 100 percent—a problem that could prove to be dangerous or even fatal in a healthcare setting.
- Eliminating overlap shifts by shortening days from eight to seven and a half hours. If this proposal went forward, workers leaving for the day would not be able to brief their incoming colleagues on the status of residents. When incoming workers don’t have the information they need to properly care for residents, it increases the likelihood of patients slipping through the cracks.
Workers will return to the bargaining table later this month; in the meantime, strike preparations are moving forward.
On June 9, 2015, we had our first bargaining session with Addus management. We made clear to Addus management what our priorities are–wages and benefits. Our hope is that better wages and benefits will help us recruit and retain quality care providers. We were also able to clarify and clean up some language in the contract.
Our next bargaining dates will be July 21st and 22nd.
Member Action Checklist:
Winning a fair contract takes all of us working together to show management that we are united. Here’s what you can do right now to get involved:
- Stay connected – Speak to your local bargaining team member or SEIU Local 503 organizer to find out how to get more involved.
- Stay tuned – There will be more updates throughout negotiations, and we will also be arranging member meetings in your area.
In It Together!
“We feel this first bargaining session was really good and was a step toward a fair contract. “ Your 2015 Addus bargaining team: (From L to R) Sherriel Stiles – Eugene, Coleen Lawson – Salem, Charlene Morgan-Stewart – Medford, Lorna Burnell – Eugene, Tammy Scroggins- Salem, Debbie Morgan- Medford, and Alexxa Gambaro – Eugene
We are pleased to announce that Avamere Beaverton ratified a new first contract! Our SEIU Bargaining Team members are Launa Monken, Julieta Bonoan, Patti Feigert with Beca Beeman serving as our chief spokesperson assisted by Katie Coombes.
For over seven months we held the line and did not give up on solving wage inequities by establishing wage scales and other Avamere statewide contract standards. Members were united and conducted multiple solidarity actions to show support – and ultimately win. Workers will be seeing our new union contract pay increases – and a whole bunch of retro pay – next month.
“We are so proud that we all stood together over the last seven months of bargaining this first contract! We made it clear to management that EVERYONE deserved a fair contract—including long-term employees, evening, and NOC shift workers.”
Patti, Julietta and Launa
Your 2014-2015 Avamere Rehabilitation of Beaverton Bargaining Team
Workers at Prestige Chehalem Health and Rehab Center are 10th new group of nursing home workers to organize with SEIU 503 this year! Congratulations to these 56 new members for their decision to organize around issues including scheduling and fair wages. This was workers’ 3rd attempt to organize over a period of 10 years. In the end, the perseverance of organizers and workers paid off and workers won union recognition on November 13.
SEIU 503 member S.L. Grace came up from Coos Bay to help launch the campaign, and member Rachel Hayes picked up a shift at the facility during the campaign.
This has been a great year for nursing home organizing and we are still on track to unite a majority of Oregon nursing home workers into our union by the end of 2016.
After many months of hard bargaining, workers at Lawrence Convalescent Center (LCC) in Portland won their first union contract late in the evening of September 25. Besides improved wages and benefits, the contract gives structure to workers’ voice on the job, resulting in better resident care and healthier working conditions.
LCC workers voted to form a union on April 17, 2014 in the face of a tough fight where the boss brought in anti-union consultants and pulled out all the stops to prevent them from winning. The issues they organized around–low pay, lack of respect and poor facility maintenance–are being addressed through the bargaining process and through worker action in the facility.
The settlement preempts an informational picket that was scheduled for September 26. The workers will ratify their contract next week.
Workers at Avamere Sunnyside Transitional Care and Avamere Rehab. of Beaverton became the latest groups of nursing home workers to join our union this year. The 74 workers at Sunnyside and the 72 workers at Beaverton join with workers at 47 other nursing homes who are already members of SEIU Local 503. Just this year, 9 new groups of nursing home workers have organized, and almost 40% of Oregon nursing home workers are now united in our union!
Congratulations to the workers and to SEIU 503 member S.L. Grace who helped on both campaigns.
Union wage increase in October
Our Work at the Capitol Pays Off
Nursing home workers in our union have done amazing work in the last year—securing strong union contracts with wage and benefit improvements, helping other workers join our union and by advocating for quality care and staffing ratios at the Capitol. These actions combined led us to victory where we won guaranteed raises in each year of our contracts.
Our fight to advocate for ourselves and our residents continues. Let’s build towards making sure we have a great year in 2015. There are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to support our efforts together:
- If you’re not contributing to CAPE, our Citizen Action for Political Education Fund, sign up! Your contributions go towards making our political program stronger so we can hold lawmakers in Salem and Washington DC accountable. This is an investment in winning future wage increases.
- Talk to your organizer about how you can be involved in this year’s political races. There are many legislators running for office that have been supportive of us and the programs that fund our work, and we’re doing all we can to make sure they get elected.
- Talk to your organizer about attending Lobby Day next year—we’ve had record amounts of nursing home workers come to Lobby Day in 2013 and 2014, let’s make 2015 the biggest year for nursing home workers in Oregon. Lawmakers need to hear from front line healthcare workers.
Workers at Lawrence Convalescent Center are fighting for quality jobs and quality resident care in a union contract. A respected and fairly compensated workforce is essential to provide the quality care that seniors in our community deserve.
Workers at 17 local nursing homes have already formed unions and bargained contracts that provide fair wages and benefits to workers and a way to work collaboratively to ensure quality care. In April, workers at Lawrence Convalescent center voted to form a union as part of SEIU Local 503. Management fought hard to try to break the organizing drive and they are still fighting in negotiations to weaken the union and not agree to the standards and raises that other local nursing home employers have agreed to.
Workers need your support to win a fair contract! Please send a message to the Lawrence today: ask them to settle a fair contract with Lawrence workers.