Pennsylvania- Members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania at Slate Belt, Spruce Manor, Mountain City, Broad Mountain, and Langhorne Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers ratified new three-year union contracts with Saber Healthcare Group by overwhelming majorities this afternoon.
The new agreements secure wage increases, restores employee pensions, and retains the union’s Training and Education Fund—a joint labor management program that provides workers with skills enhancement and other educational opportunities.
“After several months of negotiations and informational pickets held in early June, my coworkers and I are pleased to have reached a fair contract with management this afternoon,” said Lacey Bellows of Spruce Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. “In order to provide the excellent care that our residents deserve, we need to reduce turnover and increase our ability to recruit and retain qualified caregivers. This contract is a step in the right direction.”
Earlier this year, Ohio-based Saber Healthcare Group purchased Slate Belt, Spruce Manor, Mountain City, Broad Mountain, and Langhorne Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers from Oak Health LLC. At the time of purchase, Saber Healthcare Group refused to accept the workers’ union contracts and instead implemented more than 40 terms and conditions at each facility, including a refusal to participate in the union’s healthcare plan, wage freezes, and the elimination of seniority, vacation, and holidays.
“In order to provide quality care, caregivers must be respected,” said Cara Setzer of Slate Belt Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. “Our ability to reach a fair contract with Saber Healthcare Group will not only positively impact patient care, but will help in bolstering caregiver retention and morale as well.”
Following the five facilities’ pickets, Saber agreed to restore many of the standards that healthcare workers had obtained under previous ownership in the past. Under the new contract, healthcare workers:
Secured wage increases of $1.20 over the life of the contract at all five facilities
Regained the union’s Training and Education Fund which allows healthcare workers to improve their education and enhance their skill sets
Regained their pension at the same level as under previous ownership
Restored benefit time that was lost and holidays that were taken away at the time of purchase
Saber Healthcare Group currently owns 111 long-term care facilities, including 19 nursing homes and personal care facilities in eastern Pennsylvania.
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the largest union of nurses and other health care workers in the Commonwealth, representing 45,000 health care professionals in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other health care providers.
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