Healthcare workers strike at nursing home

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CAMPBELL HALL – Healthcare workers at the Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center charged Wednesday that the owner broke the law by providing employees with monetary increases without a valid contract.

Joseph Chinea, the area director of the United Healthcare Workers East 1199SEIU said they went on the one-day strike because the owner, Jerry Wood, told them he had “no interest” in signing the contract.

“We’re fighting for a fair contract that represents the workers, their healthcare coverage, their wage increases, all the things that represent healthcare and the privilege of being a part of healthcare is also being able to have health care,” he said.                                                                                                                                                          

Wood said the union has not proposed a detailed contract.

“I have seen a draft of the New York City contract now, but they haven’t even tried to sit down and negotiate with me.  They haven’t even contacted me,” he said.

With union vehicles and members blocking Kiernan Road, the workers banged on empty buckets, shouted, and demanded their contract be signed.

Non-union nurses and LPNs filled their void in the nursing home on Wednesday.

Christal Cotton, a unionized LPN at the nursing home, said she and the other union members in the facility “work hard and deserve to be compensated.” 

Wood said he has personally helped staff with financial problems with his “own money.” 

He said he gave employees two raises without a contract and now the union is “trashing my name.” 

One worker, Luis Moia, confirmed that management had given them raises, but union members said Wood broke the law by dealing directly with them, and not with the union.

Union officials said may consider additional worker strikes until they receive a signed contract.