CORNING, N.Y. (WIVB/WETM) — More than 300 employees of Centers Health Care facilities in Buffalo and Corning have voted to ratify a new union contract.
The nursing home workers at Buffalo Center, Ellicott Center and Corning Center are represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East. They were without a contract since last April, and this new agreement runs through April of next year.
A news release from the union says “Centers caregivers have been among the lowest paid nursing home workers in western New York.”
“Nursing home workers should not have to fight so hard just to win a decent wage and some benefit
improvements. But that is the way it is with these owners. The Centers workers deserve every penny
they won in this contract settlement,” says Todd Hobler, 1199SEIU vice president.
This new contract will provide “significantly higher minimum rates for nursing staff,” the union says, along with a two percent general wage increase, improvements to pensions, longevity bonuses and a yearly uniform allowance.
“I am happy we didn’t have to picket, but I think this made us stronger and we will be ready to fight for more at our next go-round,” says Ishma Marshall, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Ellicott Center in Buffalo.
The Corning Center was one of the hardest-hit nursing homes in the area during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to information provided by the Steuben County Public Health Department the center had some of the highest death numbers during the pandemic with approximately 34.
Spokesperson for the Corning Center Jeff Jacomowitz said, “We are very pleased this this agreement has been reached. The care for our residents is our number one priority and without the professional care that we offer every day from our excellent clinical staff, our highly-respected facilities would not exist. This agreement allows all of us to move forward for once and for all.”