BUFFALO, N.Y. — The largest health care workers union, 1199 SEIU, will hold one-day strikes all across Western New York later this month to demand higher wages.
The announcement comes after most of the union contracts expired a few months ago.
This includes 12 long-term nursing facilities across the region:
- Autumn View Health Care Facility, 4650 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg, NY 14075;
- Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing, 1014 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209;
- Elderwood at Lockport, 104 Old Niagara Road, Lockport, NY 14094;
- Elderwood at Williamsville, 200 Bassett Road, Williamsville, NY 14221;
- Ellicott Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing, 200 7th St., Buffalo, NY 14201;
- Fiddler’s Green Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 168 West Main St., Springville, NY 14141;
- Garden Gate Health Care Facility, 2365 Union Road, Cheektowaga, NY 14227;
- Gowanda Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, 100 Miller St., Gowanda, NY 14070;
- Humboldt House Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, 64 Hager St., Buffalo, NY 14208;
- Newfane Rehabilitation & Health Center, 2709 Transit Road, Newfane, NY 14108;
- North Gate Health Care Facility, 7624 Nash Road, North Tonawanda, NY 14120;
- Seneca Health Care Center, 2987 Seneca St., West Seneca, NY 14224.
Some plan to hold that one-day strike on July 12, while the rest will hold their strike on July 13. The 1,200 workers want more money.
The 1199 SEIU vice president of the WNY nursing home division, Grace Bogdanove, says most of the workers are making at or near $13.20 an hour.
They want at least $15 an hour. Nurses say the low pay is creating a staffing shortage crisis.
They say their employers aren't offering enough, which keeps new people from coming on-board, and the wages aren't retaining their already-low staff numbers.
"What's happening is we're losing any employees, that we have to chase bonus incentives at other facilities, which just makes our facility more short. So we need higher wages and higher starting rates so that we can fill the positions and are residents can be taken care of," said April Stonebraker, a nurse at Elderwood at Lockport.
Bogdanove says they don't want to have to strike even for a day and hope the nursing homes will come to an agreement before then.
"The question is whether or not these for-profit owners, many of whom live outside of Western New York, they're based in Long Island or Connecticut or New Jersey, whether they'll come to the table and do right by these workers and ultimately do right by the residents that they take care of," Bogdanove said.
Elderwood remains committed to providing safe, high-quality care for our residents in a vibrant and engaging environment.
We continue to focus our efforts at the bargaining table and to engage in meaningful dialog about the concerns 1199SEIU has put forth to date. So far, we believe that substantive progress toward a new agreement has been made. This includes a wage plan that represents the most generous wage offer Elderwood has ever extended in a collective bargaining environment.
Our staff are key to delivering this care, and we have invested significantly in wages, benefits, and programs to create a positive and rewarding employment experience. We are strongly committed to reaching an agreement on a contract that helps us to continue to reward the exceptional care our staff provides every day.
We believe that the most productive conversations are those that take place at the bargaining table. Therefore, we will refrain from further public comment at this time so that those bargaining sessions are as productive as possible.