The NLRB Certifies Health Care Workers’ Vote To Unionize At Nursing Home On Grand Island -104 Elderwood Workers Are Newest Members Of 1199 SEIU In Upstate New York
(GRAND ISLAND, NEW YORK) - After a long haul, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Service Workers at employed at Elderwood Grand Island, a Western New York nursing home, finally had their vote to organize certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and are now Members of 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers East, it was announced Tuesday (January 17th).
The Elderwood Grand Island Nursing Home Workers had voted overwhelmingly on October 6th to join 1199 SEIU. However, Elderwood - one of the largest nursing home networks in New York State, refused to respect that vote and filed frivolous and financially costly objections with the NLRB, Union Representatives said. In part, the Workers said management was attempting to suppress their vote by challenging their ballots, they added.
A November hearing considered the objections and challenges and during a trial that was held in early December, the NLRB rejected all of management’s objections and ruled in favor of 1199 SEIU. Even after ruling, Elderwood management chose to appeal.
In the most-recent decision delivered on January 6, the Regional NLRB Director upheld the decision of the earlier hearing. The 19 ballots that had been challenged by employer were opened on January 13th and after the count, it was announced the Workers won the vote and could finally move on to the next step of preparing for collective bargaining.
"What kind of company will spend (more than $300,000) on attorneys to ‘avoid respecting us and hearing our voices?’ That money ‘could have improved’ resident care, working conditions, or necessary supplies. We ‘won’ the election, we ‘won’ the appeal – ‘now it's time for Elderwood to stop hiding and bargain with us,’" LPN Rachael Kerrison said.
Concerns about pay, benefits, job security, staffing and a voice on the job were some of the reasons cited by the Elderwood Workers who voted to join 1199 SEIU months ago.
"I've been telling people about (1199 SEIU) since we ‘started talking’ about organizing," Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) Marcelle Wilkins said. “It's the ‘only way’ to ‘make sure’ the employer ‘will listen’ to our concerns. Today is ‘just another showing that we are together, we are strong and that we deserve a voice at the table!’"
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East - whose mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all - is the largest and fastest-growing Health Care Union in America, representing more than 400,000 Nurses and Caregivers across the States of New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and in Washington, D.C.