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SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION LOCALS SETTLE CONTRACT WITH NO STRIKE; 21 PERCENT -- 41 PERCENT WAGE HIKE, HEALTH BENEFITS, PENSION INCLUDED

 HARRSIBURG, Pa., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Locals District 1199P, 585 and 668 announced today that a tentative agreement has been reached with Beverly Enterprises, the nation's largest for-profit nursing home chain and owner of 18 nursing homes throughout Pennsylvania represented by SEIU. The agreement, which covers 1,000 workers, will become final upon ratification by the union membership.
 The new contract includes hourly wage increases of 21 percent to 41 percent, increased health benefits, pension funds and new health and safety language.
 Workers at the homes had been negotiating with Beverly at one bargaining table since October and had issued a strike authorization notice which expired on Monday, February 8th. Negotiations continue on contracts affecting homes owned by other companies.
 "The new pact has many significant and breakthrough agreements which will make this contract one of the richest ever," said John August, president of District 1199P/SEIU and chief negotiator at the Beverly table. "We are very pleased to report that once again, after tough negotiations with nursing home giant Beverly Enterprises, no resident care was interrupted and tremendous economic strides were made for the employees."
 The agreement included new health benefits that will greatly lower the employees' out-of-pocket health insurance costs and thus will extend coverage to hundreds of workers who previously had none. "Our union just did something that no one else has figured out how to do -- we reduced the number of people without access to health care," said August. "Now all Beverly employees will have access to and be able to afford high quality health insurance."
 Beverly also agreed to set aside money to establish a pension fund for their employees. "This sets the stage for establishing a pension, something that heretofore has been missing in the private, for-profit nursing home sector."
 In addition, SEIU and Beverly agreed to wage increases that would raise employees' hourly wages from 21 percent to 41 percent over the three years of the contract and would greatly improve sick leave and vacation pay. "These wage increases are much higher than those being negotiated nearly everywhere," said August. "There was a time when Beverly workers were the lowest paid in the industry. Over the last two contracts, however, the Beverly employees have now become the leaders."
 Finally, the contract incorporates new health and safety language which provides for a health and safety committee in each facility. The committees will have expanded investigation and recommendation authority to help prevent workplace injuries, especially the back injuries which cripple so many nursing home workers.
 "I'm very proud of the settlement. The workers have negotiated a well-deserved benefits and wage package," said August. "Better paid, more secure employees will mean better resident care and lower turnover of workers and will stabilize the nursing home industry."
 Contract negotiations are continuing between SEIU members and nursing homes not owned by Beverly Enterprises at bargaining tables across the Commonwealth.
 "At some tables we are close to a settlement and have extended the strike deadline, but at other tables we still have a long way to go," said August. "The Beverly settlement proves that we can get corporations to spend money where needed. It is our intent to make this happen statewide."
 The Beverly homes which have reached the tentative agreement are Beverly Manor of Monroeville and Mount Lebanon Manor in Allegheny County; Beverly Manor of Reading in Berks County; Haida Manor and Richland Manor in Cambria County; Clarion Care Center in Clarion County; Meadville Care Center in Crawford County; Blue Ridge Have West and Camp Hill Care Center in Cumberland County; Fayette Health Care Center in Fayette County; Caledonia Manor in Franklin County; Franklin Care Center in Greene County; William Penn Nursing Center in Mifflin County; Stroud Manor in Monroe County; York Terrace Nursing Center in Schuykill County; Meyersdale Manor in Somerset County; Murray Manor in Westmoreland County and Carpenter Care Center in Wyoming County.
 The million-member Service Employees International Union is the nation's largest health care union, representing 400,000 health care workers nationwide. In Pennsylvania, its Locals 668, 585 and District 1199P represent 5,000 nursing home workers and have a total membership of 50,000.
 -0- 2/6/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: If you are in an actuality, you may call 800-862-1500.
 /CONTACT: John August or Eileen Connelly of Service Employees International Union, 717-232-4160/


CO: Service Employees International Union ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

SB -- NYSA010 -- 3829 02/06/93 16:27 EST
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Date:Feb 6, 1993
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