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News ::
Northampton nursing home workers to rally for improved staffing
14 Aug 2002
Modified: 15 Aug 2002
Employees at the Northampton Nursing Home will picket on Thursday, August 15 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Northampton, MA Fed up with management's refusal to negotiate significant improvements in their pay and working conditions, employees at the Northampton Nursing Home will picket on Thursday, August 15 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

"We want to improve care for our residents and create the good jobs our community needs," said Paul Lagreze, an occupational therapy assistant who has worked at the Northampton home for five years. "But without significant raises to attract and retain staff, management will continue to rely on more expensive agency temps -- at nearly twice the cost."

A state cost report showed that Northampton spent over a million dollars on temporary services last year. Another state report showed that management failed to pass-on all of the money that was appropriated by the state legislature to improve caregivers' wages. Average wages for nursing assistants (CNAs) at the home are only $11.32 an hour.

"We're hoping our rally will focus the public's attention on the need for some immediate improvements in wages and conditions here," said Matt Mickiewicz, a maintenance tech. "Everyone gets older and someday you might need us to take care of you. Then you'd want the best!"

"We care about our residents, and we're hoping that management will show it cares about us," added Lagreze.

The employees' contract expired May 31, but has been extended until August 30. Northampton nursing home is owned by the Lash family, who live in Fall River.

The union of about 125 employees includes CNAs, therapists, teachers, housekeeping, laundry, dietary and maintenance personnel.

SEIU Local 285 is a statewide union of health care workers and public service employees with more than 12,000 members. The local union represents workers at more than 50 hospitals, health clinics, and nursing homes in Massachusetts.

Be sure to check out our latest press releases at the "Local Media Center" on SEIU Local 285's website at http://www.seiu285.org
See also:
www.seiu285.org
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The show must go on
15 Aug 2002
A living wage for workers is not unreasonable. But look at the situation: The commonwealth is flat broke because they HAD to build a tunnel in Boston, the cost of which is now up to $16,000,000,000. And every day they "revise" the "true" amount this white elephant is sucking out of the system. Their only "solutions" are to keep raising fees, rates, and taxes until the whole system collapses -which it is on the verge of doing thanks to the incompetence of Boston politics, Washington politics, and greed-crazed corporate tycoons.

On the federal level, social issues are still called "budget busters", and old people who need help are being viewed more from a "if they died now, how much money would we be able to save?" perspective.
Granted, medicaid costs have gone through the roof and some intelligent compassion to economize would be appreciated. But it seems that money is no object in this administration's "war on terror", and they have no problem spending billions on their toys.