Nursing home workers may strike soon if deal not reached

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU in Allegany, Westfield, Orchard Park and East Aurora could go on strike after the union filed three unfair labor practice board charges.

The healthcare employees work at homes operated by the Living Legends Health Network — Absolut Care, McGuire Group, Taconic Health Care and VestraCare. Three of the four are currently undergoing a change in ownership.

The union alleges that workers were subject to the following:

“threats of retaliation against union members planning to strike”

“union busting by failing to rehire vacant bargaining unit positions”

“bargaining in bad faith by implementing their last best and final offer without making movement at the table”

“The pay isn’t good enough,” said Cheryl Aavik, a laundry aide. “I do more work than they think I do. I felt disrespected when I saw that they were only offering a very small pay increase.”

Negotiations began in early February, but the current one-year contract covering more than 300 workers expired on April 30. These workers include licensed practical nurses, home health aides, cooks and medical techs, among others.

The workers are set to begin striking daily on June 13 at 6 a.m., but News 4 was told the two sides are planning to meet again for negotiations on Monday.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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