Pendleton nursing home workers unionize

Mystic - Nursing home workers at the Pendleton Health and Rehabilitation Center voted 64 – 40 last week to join the state’s largest union of health care workers, the New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199, the union announced today.

There are 112 licensed practical nurses, resident care specialists, resident care supervisors, food service aides, cooks, maintenance technicians, rehabilitation aides, activities assistants, central supply coordinators, unit assistants and health information-medical records clerks at the 120-bed nursing home who will be members of the union, Deborah Chernoff, union spokeswoman said.

The National Labor Relations Board conducted the election by secret ballot on April 5.

Chernoff said issues that prompted the workers to unionize included low wages, high employee co-pays for benefits, staffing levels and “people feeling like their work wasn’t being respected, and wanting to have more input into decisions that are affecting the care of residents.”

Workers at about 60 nursing homes statewide are members of District 1199, Chernoff said. The union represents about 27 percent of nursing homes statewide, and another 3 percent are represented by other unions.

“Now we can start working on making improvements to our work environment, working conditions and patient care,” Joan Laursen, a licensed practical nurse who has worked at the facility for more than nine years, said in a news release.

Pendleton is owned by Sava Senior Care, a for-profit company based in Atlanta that also owns Bride Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center in East Lyme.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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