For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Weiss
Harbor Group Communications, Inc.
Highland Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center Administrator Expresses Dismay over Union’s Decision to Strike
Wellsville, NY – September 17th, 2020 – Against the backdrop of today’s union-initiated walk out by employees of the eighty-bed Highland Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, the administration was quick to express frustration with the union and particularly with the small number of striking staffers who many neighboring families depend on to serve this close-knit community.
“This strike is without the least bit of merit,” said Blake Apsokardu, the facility’s administrator. “It is an irresponsible action that can potentially put the wellbeing of all who are in the care of our employees in grave jeopardy,” he added.
Calling the union that represents the employees of the facility misguided and dishonest, Apsokardu pointed out that employee participation on the picket line has been greatly exaggerated. “It appears that the union could only garner the strike-support of some 18 actual employees of the facility,” Apsokardu explained.
According to Mr. Apsokardu, to call for such an action after months of negotiations that have resulted in significant additional benefits for their members is patently irresponsible. The strike will not only disrupt the operations of our nursing facility, but it is sure to cause unnecessary anxiety on the part of our residents while serving no legitimate purpose related to a future contract.
“The management team of Highland Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, a member-facility of the Excelsior Care Group, LLC, is keenly aware of and sensitive to the stress and strain our staff had lived through as these front-line heroes confronted the impact of COVID-19,” Apsokardu explained. “For this reason, we granted a significant pay increase to our employees even while we continued to negotiate a comprehensive contract. In the last nine months we have increased pay rates twice. In total, CNA rates increased between 14.4% and 29.7%, LPN rates were increased between 10.2% and 27.3% and other union positions were increased by approx. 9.5%. Which employers anywhere, union or non-union, are giving increases as large as these? This union initially rejected our offer of the first, and larger, of the two increases. There were no strings attached and the union had nothing to lose by agreeing to it. Yet it took them a few weeks to agree to it which cost the employees additional dollars that they could have had. Is it surprising that this same union now refuses to allow the employees to enjoy the benefit of the increases and are instead demanding that the employees reduce their pay by 2% and give it to the union? There are even, currently, additional raises in rates and benefits in our offer which the union has once again rejected. It appears they would rather have them walk off the job and turn their backs on those residents who will remain in desperate need of their care,” Apsokardu noted.
“We truly hope that this will be a short lived strike and that the union leadership will be mindful of the needs, wants and desires of both their members, our loyal employees, and the residents whose care we are all responsible for,” said Isaac Wiener, Chief Operating Officer of the Excelsior Care Group, LLC.
“Rest assured, that the standard of care for our residents will never be compromised and that regardless of this strike activity, the needs of our residents will be taken care of, no matter what,” Wiener added.