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‘Occupy Philly is watching’

Mic check supports nursing home workers

Published Dec 14, 2011 8:54 PM

Chanting “Union-busting is disgusting!” Occupy Philly activists barged into the headquarters lobby of Presby’s Inspired Life, a local nursing home chain, on Dec. 9. In front of surprised managers, including President/CEO Judee M. Bavaria, who raked in more than $400,000 in total compensation in 2009, activists yelled in unison from the mic-check script:

“Mic check! We are Occupy Philly. We have a message for Presby’s Inspired Life. ... Every moment that you spend money on union-busting lawyers instead of investing in patient care and a quality workforce, Occupy Philly is watching. … Every moment these workers are targeted and fired, Occupy Philly is watching. … If Presby’s Inspired Life refuses to address these problems, we’ll be back!”

The five-minute action took place to support nursing home workers — many are immigrants — who overwhelmingly voted to be represented by SEIU Healthcare PA in April 2010. PIL has refused to negotiate a fair contract, however.

PIL provides care to 2,600 residents in 25 communities through the work of nearly 1,100 employees in the Philadelphia area. When the contract demands of 140 workers at the Broomall Presbyterian Village are finally met, that would set the stage to unionize and raise the working conditions of all PIL workers.

Workers are threatening to strike if the negotiation deadlock continues.