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NURSING HOME WORKERS PETITION THEIR LEGISLATORS FOR BETTER CARE FOR RESIDENTS AND IMPROVED WORKING CONDITIONS

 NURSING HOME WORKERS PETITION THEIR LEGISLATORS FOR
 BETTER CARE FOR RESIDENTS AND IMPROVED WORKING CONDITIONS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Some 200 employees from 44 Pennsylvania nursing homes visited their state legislators today to seek better care for residents and fairer treatment for workers.
 They zeroed in on particular bills aimed at reforming workers' compensation, increasing staff levels, banning scab labor and improving workers' pension and health insurance.
 The employees are members of Locals 1199P, 585, 668 (Pennsylvania Social Services Union) which are part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO. The locals represent 3,500 employees at nursing homes with an estimated 10,000 residents.
 The unions are preparing for joint bargaining with the homes. Many of the labor contracts expire in the fall.
 Their lobbying was preceded by a news conference with remarks from Local 1199P President John August, Local 668 President Paul Krissel and Local 585 staff representative John Haer.
 They pointed out how alarmingly high injury rates of nursing home workers (particularly back injuries) are tied to low staffing. Other points:
 -- Nursing home workers get hurt on the job at rates which are twice as high as other industries.
 -- Understaffing is the primary cause of this injury rate rise because fewer workers dealing with more residents makes the workers more prone to injury.
 -- Often an able-bodied employee is assisted by an employee not fully recovered from a prior injury. This puts both workers in peril of getting hurt.
 -- Although back injuries account for 25 percent of all injuries in the private sector it rises to 43 percent in nursing homes.
 -- The average nursing home in Pennsylvania pays $132,000 a year in worker compensation premiums; hospitals pay only one-fourth that amount.
 -- The annual turnover rate of Pennsylvania nursing home workers is nearly 100 percent.
 Haer said, "We hear much about doctors' fees, alleged overpayment and costs to the employers. Lost in all this noise is the central and most important focus of any worker compensation debate -- the health and safety of workers."
 August said, "Our union is here today and we promise to return as many times as necessary, to make the public and the policy makers act on the needs of our state's dedicated health care workers. Our members' conditions of employment are directly related to whether or not quality care in Pennsylvania nursing homes will be achieved."
 "Turnover rates in nursing homes remain alarmingly high," August added. "Unionized nursing home workers stay longer. Unionized homes have better staffing."
 /delval/
 -0- 5/19/92
 /Editors: Following are the nursing homes, by county./
 Beverly Manor, Monroeville (Allegheny County), 1199P
 Lemington Home for the Aged, Pittsburgh (Allegheny), 1199P
 Mt. Lebanon Manor, Mt. Lebanon (Allegheny), 1199P
 Providence Health Care Center, Beaver Falls (Beaver), 1199P
 Reading Nursing Center, Reading (Berks), 1199P
 Beverly Manor of Reading, Birdsboro (Berks), 1199P
 Evergreen, Zelienople (Butler), 585
 Sunnyview Home, Butler (Butler), 585
 Laurel Crest Manor, Ebensburg (Cambria), 1199P
 Richland Manor, Johnstown (Cambria), 585
 Haida Manor, Hastings (Cambria), 585
 Church of the Brethren Home, Winber (Cambria), 1199P
 Clarion Care Center, Clarion (Clarion), 1199P
 Susque-View Home, Lock Haven (Clinton), 1199P
 Blue Ridge Haven West, Camp Hill (Cumberland), 668
 Meadville Care Center, Meadville (Crawford), 585
 Fayette Health Care Center, Uniontown (Fayette), 1199P
 Henry Clay Villa, Markleysburg (Fayette), 1199P
 Caledonia Manor, Fayetteville (Franklin), 668
 Franklin Care Center, Waynesburg (Greene), 585
 Duke Convalescent Center, Lancaster (Lancaster), 668
 Hampton House Nursing Home, Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne), 1199P
 Mercy Health Care Center, Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne), 1199P
 Williamsport Home, Williamsport (Lycoming), 1199P
 William Penn Nursing Center, Lewistown (Mifflin), 1199P
 Stroud Manor, East Stroudsburg (Monroe), 1199P
 Slate Belt Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Bango (Northampton),
 1199P
 Broad Mountain Nursing Center, Frackville (Schuylkill), 1199P
 York Terrace Nursing Home, Pottsville (Schuylkill), 1199P
 Meyersdale Manor, Somerset (Somerset), 1199P
 Grandview Health, Oil City (Venango), 585
 Washington County Health Center, Washington (Washington), 585
 McMurray Hills Manor, Washington (Washington), 1199P
 Humbert Lane Healthcare Centre, Washington (Washington), 1199P
 Baldock Health, Irwin (Westmoreland), 585
 Murray Manor, Murraysville (Westmoreland), 585
 Harmon House, Mt. Pleasant (Westmoreland), 585
 Carpenter Care Center, Tunkhannock (Wyoming), 1199P
 Phoebe Home (Lehigh), 668
 Bethlen Home (Westmoreland), 668
 Mountain View (Westmoreland), 668
 Alpine Nursing Center (Dauphin), 1199P
 Laurel View Comprehensive Care Center (Westmoreland), 1199P
 Canterbury Place (Allegheny), 1199P
 /CONTACT: Barbara DeVane of PSSU, 717-234-4113/ CO: Pennsylvania Social Services Union ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:


JS-MP -- PH006 -- 1830 05/19/92 12:30 EDT
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