Care Facility Workers Vote To Strike In Westfield

WESTFIELD — Members of the Service Employees International Union United Health Care Workers East at Absolut Care in Westfield have voted to authorize an indefinite strike on Thursday, according to the union’s Facebook page.

Union officials said 97% agreed with the action by the union members at the location. Caregivers at the Westfield location as well as Absolut Care of Allegany, Absolut Care of Aurora Park and Absolut Care of Orchard Brooke have been bargaining for a fair contract with their employer since early February. The current contract covering more than 300 union nursing home workers expired April 30.

“We are constantly understaffed and overworked, said Karly Beaujean, Licensed Practical Nurse at Absolut Care of Westfield said last month. “We are constantly burned out. When new staff come in, they end up leaving. If we were able to offer the same or better wages like other nursing homes in our area, then hopefully new workers would stay and help us give the residents the care they deserve.”

April Ezzell, regional spokeswoman for SEIU, said the union is required to issue a 10-day notice in advance of any strike happening. She also noted that both returned to bargaining on Friday.

All these facilities are owned and operated by members of the Living Legends Health Network which includes: Absolut Care, The McGuire Group, Taconic Health Care, and VestraCare. Living Legends Health Network group is managed by Long Island native, Edward Farbenblum.

Caregivers at the four rural facilities work as Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Home Health Aides, Patient Care Assistants, Medical Techs, Housekeepers, Cooks, and Dietary Workers.

Absolut Care of Westfield is a 120-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility located at 26 Cass St.


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