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News ::
Donors to Democratic Party Finally Cave in to Pressure
29 May 2001
Nursing Home workers call on elected officials to also refuse contributions from Wingate nursing home owner Gerald Schuster.
Nursing home workers at the Wingate at Wilbraham home are celebrating today’s news in the Boston Globe that the state Democratic Party is backing their union in its nearly two year dispute with its owner.

“It means a lot to us that the state Democratic Party has sided with its principles and not these greedy millionaires,” said Pam Verrocchi, a ten-year veteran LPN at the Wingate home. “We now expect all of our elected officials will also reject contributions from the Schuster’s until they put their money where it is most needed -- improving the quality of care and staffing at the nursing homes they own.”

Caregivers and other employees at the nursing home voted in February 1999 to join SEIU Local 285 to improve the quality of care, deteriorating working conditions, and inadequate staffing levels at the home. Wingate at Wilbraham is on a Massachusetts Department of Public Health “special focus” list because of a past history of serious problems with the quality of care (Springfield Union-News, February 22, 2001). The National Labor Relations Board has also cited Wingate for multiple and repeated violations of labor law, including firing and suspending workers for union activity, and replacing experienced dedicated staff with temp agency workers.

Employees have picketed and passed out informational leaflets at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, the July 2000 State Democratic Party convention, the annual Eleanor Roosevelt awards dinner, and a lavish fundraising event attended by the Schuster’s to benefit Brigham and Women’s hospital in Palm Beach, FL.

“We salute those political leaders who have taken a stand in support of these brave caregivers,” said Celia Wcislo, president of SEIU Local 285. “We will continue to do whatever it takes to get Gerald Schuster to cease his anti-union campaign and negotiate in good faith with nursing home employees.”

“All elected officials and candidates for office should now think twice about accepting contributions from a rogue like Schuster and members of his family,” Wcislo added.
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I know Wingate.
01 Jun 2001
This article was a delight to see. For 7 months I worked for Wingate Corp. partly with Ms. Verrocchi. First, it was difficult to see so many elderly people in need of more care than they seemed to get. (from health care to a basic, sincere 'Good morning'. Silly little things like than mean a lot to the elderly.) Pam is a very good person and I'm glad for her and the others that worked on this, more power to them. So many people came to work there (one of many Wingates) and most left quickly, as I did. This is where I was educated to the strange custom of "Forced Overtime". These people need to work and they have families that they see only on weekends. This reason alone is why I support democratic Unions.
It was also an education/shock to see the amount of Pharmaceuticals the residents were given! (another scandle in the making) You see the Meds keep these people "alive" (I think) while the Shusters of this system get 250 to 500 dollars a day PER resident PER day from mainly medicare.
I for one would rather die Pharmaceutical free, thank you.