OAKMONT, Pa. – On June 13, 2018 dozens of caregivers from Oakmont Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation held an informational picket outside the facility to demand its new owner, Prestige Healthcare Group, recognize workers’ rights to protect their benefits and resident care.
Oakmont Center, formerly owned by Skyline Healthcare, was purchased by Prestige in March, 2018, after the facility was put into receivership for Skyline failing to meet payroll. Almost immediately, Prestige changed workers’ healthcare coverage to an unaffordable plan without the consent of union members and is refusing to honor paid time off workers previously earned before Prestige purchased the home.
“As nursing home caregivers, we know that a positive relationship with our employer equals to a better environment for workers and residents. However, Prestige started off on the wrong foot by putting in place an expensive healthcare plan without our consent and denying us time off that we already earned,” said certified nursing assistant Jocelyn Furko. “That act demonstrates that Prestige does not respect us as workers, the union benefits we’ve fought hard to achieve, or the role our voices have in making sure the nursing home operates to its highest potential.”
For workers who earn modest salaries, access to affordable healthcare and fair benefits ensures the nursing home retains qualified caregivers. Because nursing home work is extremely hard staff needs time off to rest their bodies and minds so they can come back able to focus on caring for residents. It is unfair for workers to lose time they have already earned simply because a new owner is in place.
Pennsylvania nursing homes are in the midst of a surge of ownership turnover, which often leads to staff instability and a negative impact on residents’ continuity of care. Caregivers want to build a respectful relationship with the new owner of their facility so that their legal rights to collectively bargain are honored and that care is a priority over profits.
The 61 union members are represented by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and are comprised of licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, dietary aides, housekeeping and other service staff.
Though Prestige has not offered additional bargaining dates, workers are anxious to get back to the table to reach resolution and get back to focusing fully on resident care.