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LABOR DAY MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF PENNSYLVANIA NURSING HOME WORKERS AND RESIDENTS FROM LABOR LEADERS

 LABOR DAY MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF PENNSYLVANIA NURSING HOME WORKERS
 AND RESIDENTS FROM LABOR LEADERS
 STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Three major locals of the 1-million-member Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO today declared that 1992 is the year for "Justice for Nursing Home Workers."
 Beginning this fall and into the months of December and January, the three locals are engaged in a "Coordinated Bargaining Campaign" in 50 nursing homes in Pennsylvania. Contracts have begun to expire and the bulk of the contracts will expire on Nov. 30, 1992, with more following in the subsequent two months. The union said its plan is to attempt to negotiate upgraded standards for them all!
 "This is an unprecedented attempt in Pennsylvania," declared John August, president of the 8,000-member District 1199P/SEIU, whose local has the largest number of nursing homes involved in the bargaining. He said there are industry-wide problems, including:
 -- understaffing
 -- high injury rates
 -- high turnover of personnel
 -- poverty level starting wages
 -- no pensions
 -- no affordable family health insurance.
 "Until public policy and the industry face up to these miserable working conditions there will never be the kind of quality care needed in Pennsylvania or America's nursing homes," he said.
 On Labor Day 1992 workers in all 50 homes will be wearing stickers that say "Justice for Nursing Home Workers."
 In 1986, the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz issued a massive and now famous report in which he concluded that no less than two-thirds of America's long-term care residents receive substandard care.
 "Here it is 1992 and the workers on the front line -- nurses, certified nursing assistants, service and maintenance and clerical workers can tell the public that little has changed!" August said.
 He continued, "The Reagan-Bush era is best exposed for what it is when you look at the crisis in long-term care. The Reagan-Bush era speaks about improved social conditions and education, and yet at the same time deep cuts at the federal level in these budget items have meant an actual reduction in the possibility of carrying out any improvements. Medicare and Medicaid have been cut every single year that this administration has been in office. More than 50 percent of residents in nursing homes are Medicaid recipients. How can you improve quality with less?
 "The industry," he said, "should be indicted even more severely. For-profit chains like Beverly Enterprises, Unicare, Manor Care, Health Care and Retirement, JDK Inc. and others all operate for profit here in Pennsylvania, and yet conditions in the nursing homes remain the same or worse."
 The Heinz Report recommendations for a better quality of life go unanswered, he said, all while the frontline care givers are pushed around and live at or close to poverty level standards.
 August concluded, "Labor Day 1992 for SEIU in Pennsylvania means: it's time to live up to the standards envisioned in the Heinz Report; high quality care for long-term residents through, among other things, an improved quality of life and standard of living for the frontline care givers.
 "The negotiations coming up this fall will force these issues to the public like never before!"
 /delval/
 -0- 9/4/92
 /CONTACT: John August, president of District 1199P/SEIU, 800-252-3894/ CO: District 1199P ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:


JS-LJ -- PH027 -- 7082 09/04/92 16:36 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 4, 1992
Words:550
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