UNION CITY — Around 15 employees of Union City’s Manhattanview Health Care Center wore purple shirts with “99%” emblazoned in yellow on the front and walked back and forth to the beat of a metal bucket dented almost in half with a spoon before hurrying off at ten minutes to three to make their evening shift on time. Another 15 employees then took over, many after completing their morning shifts.
They came to continue the non-strike picket in protest of the fact that all of them, many whom have worked at the nursing home for over ten years, are in danger of losing their health insurance if they do not renew their union contract that has been under negotiation for over a year.
The workers who man the front lines of the operation – from housekeeping to nursing to linens to recreation – are all part of the New Jersey Union 1199 SEIU of United Healthcare Workers East. The irony of the possible loss of health insurance, union Communications Coordinator James Canonge explained, is that these workers, whose very business is health and wellbeing, are at risk of losing their own.
Mayor and state Senator Brian Stack had planned to join the picketers Wednesday afternoon, but was unable due to scheduling conflicts.
“I support them one hundred percent,” Stack said in a phone call. “They deserve decent wages. These are people who work extremely hard taking care of people at various stages of their lives when they most need it in the nursing home.” Read more…