Nursing home workers threaten strike

Jim Devine and Milly Silva

James J. Devine appeared with Milly Silva in this September 2013 file photo. The former lieutenant governor candidate announced that nursing home staff are prepared to strike if their corporate employer does not offer fair wages and working conditions.

JERSEY CITY — The union representing about 450 workers at four New Jersey nursing homes held a press conference on July 24, in Journal Square to announce they are ready to strike if a deal cannot be reached with Alaris Health corporation.

Service Employees International Union executive Milva Silva said members of the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union are threatening to strike in Hudson and Bergen counties if Alaris insists that its nursing home employees pay more for family health benefits and and accept less than one percent annual raises.

“Many workers already have no choice but to roll in public assistance just to get their children the health care they need,” said Silva, who was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2013.

The four Alaris nursing homes in Union City, Guttenberg, Jersey City, and Rochelle Park employ certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, dietary aides, recreation aides, and housekeepers.

Housekeeper Jean Fritz Jean-Pierre said they just want a fair offer. “My family is a big family and I want to support them,” Jean-Pierre said.

Union workers last went on strike in 2009 but their current contracts expired almost four months ago.

Alaris maintains a network of independently owned and operated health centers across the state that are licensed to use the name for marketing short-term post hospital rehabilitation, long term and specialty care services.

In June, Alaris Health at Castle Hill received an overall five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), indicating a quality of care considered to be far above average under federal standards.



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