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Activist back to work after being targeted for layoff BUFFALO — A Health Research Inc. worker targeted for layoff by her supervisor is now back to work following a settlement facilitated by the National Labor Relations Board. CSEA filed grievances and an unfair labor practice charge last autumn against Health Research Inc. on behalf of Laura Porter, a 34-year HRI employee and longtime CSEA officer. In the charges, CSEA presented evidence that Porter had been subject to anti-union animus, which basically means she was targeted for her union activity. “A lot of things were happening in my department,” Porter said. “When other CSEA members in the department became upset, I was blamed by the supervisor. I had 30 years in the same department and I had the highest seniority.” The NLRB ruling reinstates Porter to a similar position with HRI, but not her previous job. The ruling also means Porter will receive all back pay from the period of the layoff and the leave accruals she would have earned. Her position is guaranteed until the end of this year, when she has the option of retiring or applying for another position with HRI. HRI is one of two CSEA locals on the campus of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Members of the HRI Local are private sector workers, and their positions are funded through grants. The National Labor Relations Board hears cases involving private sector union workers. Members of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Local, which is not associated with the Laura Porter case, are public employees working for the state. The Public Employment Relations Porter Board (PERB) hears cases involving public employees. Health Research Incorporated at Roswell Park was established in 1953 to serve the research programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. HRI is a not-for-profit corporation and positions with HRI are grant funded. — Lynn Miller Workers at two nursing homes approve agreements with new employers BUFFALO — In an effort to secure a better future and preserve quality care, CSEA members working in two nursing homes formerly owned by Chautauqua and Orleans counties have voted to approve contracts with their new employers. CSEA members overwhelmingly approved a five-year deal with VestraCare on Jan. 5. VestraCare is the new operator of the former Chautauqua County Nursing Home in Dunkirk. In Orleans County, union members approved a five-year deal on Jan. 6 with Comprehensive Healthcare, which now operates The Villages of Orleans in Albion. Both of the former county homes officially transferred to the private companies on Jan. 1. As reported in The Work Force’s December 2014 issue, CSEA in no way supports the outsourcing of public nursing homes, however the union is encouraged by the business model of the new operators in Chautauqua and Orleans counties. It’s a business model that doesn’t squeeze every penny out of workers’ pockets. “These companies have shown a commitment to the residents and to the workers,” said CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi. “They came into negotiations sharing our goals, and they honored the workers’ experience and dedication to quality care.” Experience has shown that when a county nursing home is sold to a private company, quality care for residents often suffers. That is because the new owner often slashes wages and In this file photo, Kim Alguire, a licensed practical nurse, prepares residents’ medications at the former Chautauqua County Nursing Home, which is now owned by VestraCare. compensation to the bone, resulting in high staff turnover and inexperienced workers. CSEA is optimistic that quality care and strong staffing will continue in Chautauqua and Orleans counties. “VestraCare and Comprehensive Healthcare know that quality care will suffer if you lose good, long-term workers and replace them with low-paid, inexperienced staff,” said CSEA Private Sector Director Bob Compani. “These companies are not willing to punish good workers for profit. They are looking to make changes the right way, to continue to provide quality care and to protect middle class jobs.” Both contracts provide wages comparable to CSEA’s former agreements with the counties. They also retain the former county employees’ seniority, offer health insurance and provide other terms and conditions geared toward maintaining the experienced and dedicated staff for the residents. — Lynn Miller February 2015 The Work Force 7


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