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Largest healthcare workers’ union hits the picket lines in NY

December 17, 2014
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The largest healthcare workers union in the country is hitting the picket lines today, including employees at 42 nursing homes in New York City and Long Island.

The 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East are holding the informational picket to protest the contract proposals offered by employers at 42 nursing homes, dubbed the “Group of 42,” according to an article on the union’s official website. Among the issues are “regressive proposals” that would cut worker benefits, switch to health plans with co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses, and provide no wage increases, the union article states.

The 1199SEIU members have been holding rallies and informational pickets for months, unhappy with proposals from nursing home owners that would reduce benefits and keep wages low. Also at issue is the practice of “non-slotting,” where employers use low-paid, temporary agency workers to fill in when full-time workers are off, which union members say leads to a lack of upward mobility for part-time and temporary staff, causes short-staffing and creates gaps with care continuity for residents.

In September, the union held rallies in New Jersey to support 450 workers at Alaris Health who said they had been locked out by their employers after a three-day strike to protest expired contracts, according to New Jersey

The 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union has more than 400,000 members across four states and the District of Columbia.