PHILADELPHIA, PA—Members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania at Somerton Center and Garden Spring Center nursing homes in Philadelphia and Willow Grove reached an agreement with new owner Vita Healthcare, Inc. after months of difficult negotiations. The members were able to win a new contract that makes improvements for the workers, the residents and the communities involved.
“We fought long and hard to make sure Vita Healthcare understood how important it is to invest in our homes and in the best care for our residents,” said Shanrika Nelson, a CNA at Somerton Center. “I’m so glad we stood strong and now we can say we won this fight for everyone’s sake!”
The new agreement is a strong victory for the workers in the wake of changes Vita Healthcare implemented after purchasing the homes in 2018. Their initial policies lowered standards at both homes, cutting pay up to $11,000 for some employees who had been there for decades and implementing a new health insurance plan that made workers choose between huge deductibles of up to $10,000 for families, or monthly premiums of up to $900 a month.
Workers united against those changes, determined to protect quality at both homes. Through their efforts, they won a new contract that restores and even increases wages at both facilities as well as freezes healthcare costs for workers and their families, ensuring that both Somerton Center and Garden Spring can continue to attract and retain the best caregivers at their homes. Most importantly, the new contract includes successorship language that protects workers from having their wages cut if the home is sold again in the future.
“I love my job and the residents I care for each day, but we need to be able to support our families, too,” said LaTanya Richardson, a cook at Garden Spring Center. “Vita’s cuts to pay and benefits was only driving good staff away. Now the best caregivers know they can work here and make a living. That’s how we make sure our residents are getting the care they deserve.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania represents over 200 nursing assistants, dietary and housekeeping workers at Somerton Center and Garden Spring Center. Negotiations between union workers and Vita Healthcare Group had been ongoing since August, 2018.
Contact: James Myers, 215-479-2213, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community- based services, and State facilities across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality care and healthy communities for all Pennsylvanians.