Day 1: Cedar Haven Healthcare Center nurses go on strike
Employees of Cedar Haven Healthcare Center went on strike to demand a fair contract at noon on Friday, October 20.
Cedar Haven’s certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, maintenance employees, laundry employees, central supply employees, housekeeping staff, clerical employees, beauticians, transport aides, therapeutic recreation staff and restorative aides are represented by AFSCME District Council 89, Local 2732, and narrowly averted a strike last year. This year, they are taking a stand, as the owner imposed his “last, best and final” offer on the employees, which would increase the nurses’ healthcare costs and cut their paid time off.
“What happened with last year’s contract when the owner took so much from us, and now he’s taking even more this year, we have to put our foot down. Otherwise, next year, it’s going to be a pay cut. We have to put a stop to it,” said Penny Kleinfelter, president of AFSCME Local 2732.
The nursing home was owned by Lebanon County, until it was purchased by Stone Barn Holdings in 2014. As often happens with privatization, the owner looked to cut costs on the backs of employees, and put profit over people.
Cheryl Frattaroli, who has never seen anything like this in her 25 years at the nursing home, said “I can’t take care of my family in Cedar Haven, because I can’t take care of my own family, because of the cuts; it’s so unfair.”
Nurses rallied around the building at multiple picket lines, chanting and receiving a lot of support from the local community. They will continue to strike until Stone Barn Holdings returns to the bargaining table and agrees to a fair deal.
“The owner took a knife to us last year, he took an ax to us this year and next year he is going to bulldoze us and go into our wages,” said Local 2732 member Wendy Viramontes.
“He needs to come back to the table. He’s the one who stopped negotiations. He won’t even keep us at status quo, and that’s all we’re asking. Stop putting us through this every year.”
Cedar Haven earned a 100 percent deficiency-free rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and is rated among the best facilities in the nation, because of the dedicated nurses and staff who make the nursing home happen. They deserve a fair contract, and will never quit until they get the respect they deserve.