New Jersey health workers threaten to strike

Excerpted from a July 23 press release. For more information, go to 1199 SEIU website at

Milly Silva, executive vice president of 1199 SEIU, Jersey City, July 23.Photo: 1199 SEIU

Milly Silva, executive vice president of 1199 SEIU, Jersey City, July 23.
Photo: 1199 SEIU

A multinational, multigendered delegation of 1199 Service Employees healthcare workers, including certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, dietary and recreation aides, and licensed practical nurses, held a press conference in the Journal Square area of Jersey City, N.J., on July 23 to announce a possible strike at four New Jersey nursing homes in Union City, Guttenberg, Jersey City and Rochelle.

The 450 union members at these facilities have been working without a contract for the past four months and have filed unfair labor practice charges against Alaris Health, the owner of the four facilities. Alaris is proposing higher health premiums, a reduction in paid sick leave and reductions in other benefits for newly hired workers. Alaris has even failed to provide affordable family health benefits to the caregivers! A majority of caregivers signed petitions authorizing their bargaining committees to call a strike.

Alaris, owned by multimillionaire Avery Eisenreich, averaged $40 million in net profit from 2010-2012, according the most recent Medicaid reports. Eisenreich has announced plans to demolish the nursing home in Guttenberg, which will displace 100 elderly residents and rob workers of their jobs.