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Tentative Deal Averts Strike At Nursing Facilities

Workers at Westfield Absolute Care call for a fair contract earlier this month.

Rural nursing home workers at four Absolut Care facilities, including Westfield, have reached a two-year tentative agreement.

The deal was announced late Thursday and union members are cancelling unfair labor practice strikes, previously set to begin this week. Nursing home workers are represented by 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in the country.

Negotiations stalled when the employer unilaterally implemented their last best and final offer, leaving rural nursing home workers below the area standard for wages and benefits.

Details of the agreement will be made public if ratified by union members. Ratification votes are scheduled for next week.

“A strike is always a last resort for our members,” said Grace Bogdanove, 1199SEIU Vice-President for WNY Nursing Homes. “It is incredibly disappointing that Absolut Care/RCA management engaged in bad-faith bargaining and union busting throughout contract talks, but 1199SEIU members stood united in their fight for fair wages. While we still have more work to do to bring these workers’ wage and benefit standards up to where they need to be, we were able to reach a fair agreement hours before our strike was scheduled to begin.

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

“This tentative agreement provides for much-needed wage increases and other contractual improvements for these rural workers and is a first step towards the equity that they deserve. Workers are grateful for the support they received from their residents and their families, community members, the labor movement, elected officials, and more. Nursing home workers provide critical care to our elderly residents in their local community, and we hope that Absolut Care/RCA is finally beginning to understand that the care economy depends on workers who show up day in and day out,” said Bogdanove.

Caregivers at Absolut Care of Allegany, Absolut Care of Aurora Park, Orchard Brooke Assisted Living Center, and Absolut Care of Westfield (dba as RCA Servicer at Allegany, LLC, RCA Servicer at Aurora Park, LLC, RCA Servicer at Orchard Brooke, LLC, and RCA Servicer, LLC at Westfield) have been bargaining for a fair contract with their employer since early February. The previous labor contract expired April 30.

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