WELLSVILLE, N.Y. — A group of essential healthcare workers in Allegany County are planning to strike Thursday.
More than 50 employees at Highland Park Nursing Home will be walking out to protest the management.
The managers are accused of using threats and intimidation tactics.
They say they've tried to reach a contract for two years, and say their requests for union protections, fair wages, and affordable health insurance have been ignored.
“In 2018 we voted to join in union because we felt we were being mistreated,” said Maggie Phillips a certified nursing assistant at Highland Park. “For 25 months we have met and bargaining with our corporate employer all the while dealing with threats, intimidation, and our co-workers getting suspended. What we want is simple - more money to take care of our families and affordable health insurance so that we can take care of ourselves and our residents. With all that is going on, refusing good health care to nursing workers is absolutely inhumane!”
Highland Park is located in Wellsville. It's owned by Excelsior Group, LLC, a New York metropolitan area for-profit corporation with no ties to Wellsville.
“Our decision to strike was not something that we came to easily. It is a last resort after more than two years of negotiations,” said Ellen Drew, a licensed practical nurse at Highland Park. “While our employer likes to call us ‘irresponsible’ for taking action, we love our residents and feel that it would be irresponsible not to strike to protect them. Only by winning better wages and healthcare we can afford will they have a chance at receiving the quality and continuity of care they deserve.”
Highland Park responded with a statement, saying "we are genuinely dismayed by the decision of the union representing the employees" to "call for a strike."
The center calls the move "irresponsible, saying it can "put the wellbeing of all who are in the care of employees" in grave jeopardy.
The two-day strike will begin at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, and the healthcare workers plan to return to work on Saturday.