Santa Monica, CA — The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights made public today internal memos and agreements between Andy Stern’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and nursing home operators that show just how Stern sold nursing home workers out. The nursing home workers lost their rights to strike, complain publicly about quality of care problems and improve their pay and benefits under the secret Stern-backed agreements with nursing home owners.
Nursing home operators got the unions’ lobbying clout for more Medicaid dollars, for tort reform measures and against safe staffing requirements in nursing homes. SEIU got the right to represent workers, if shoddily, and to receive dues.
“Nursing homes are a sector where caregivers are the eyes, the ears and the witnesses when there is abuse,” said FTCR President Jamie Court. “To tie their hands and to tie their tongues is to let people die. That’s immoral and a terrible thing for a nursing home worker to have to live with. I’ve never seen a labor union except for the SEIU enter into a top-down, industry-friendly agreement that binds the hands of the workers.”
The documents, which are the subject of a San Francisco Weekly article about Andy Stern today ( http://www.sfweekly.com/2007-04-11/news/union-disunity/print ) are available at the following links:
Agreement to Advance the Future of Nursing Home Care in Washington:
Agreement to Advance the Future of Nursing Home Care in California:
CA Alliance to Advance Nursing Home Care, Inc. Board Meeting Agenda:
CA Alliance Agreement: Lessons Learned — Union Members Own Criticism of The Agreements:
Report on Alliance Negotiations:
The SF Weekly’s Matt Smith reports:
“Under the 2003 lobbying pact, all nursing home workers entering the union under the auspices of the agreement would work under uniform, employer-friendly labor contracts called “template agreements.”
These agreements specify that the union is not allowed to report health care violations to state regulators, to other public officials, or to journalists, except in cases where the employees are required by law to report egregious cases of neglect and abuse to the state. The agreements also prohibit the unionized workers from picketing, and negotiating improvements in health care or other benefits. They prohibit the workers from having a say in their job conditions.
According to the template contract, employers have the “exclusive right to manage the business.”
This means the owners set pay rates, pay increases, and incentive plans. They hire, lay off, demote, discipline, and determine benefits for workers without union input. The employers may outsource work performed by union members, and speed up, reassign, or eliminate jobs at will. The employer may eliminate vacations, or any other time off, as the employer sees fit.
The agreement also guarantees that workers’ wages will not put an employer at an “economic disadvantage,” either through employee pay, benefits, or through staff-per-patient ratios.
To advocates for health care consumers, contract language guaranteeing the union will refrain from reporting poor nursing home conditions to state regulators is particularly appalling.”
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