Day 2: Cedar Haven Healthcare Center nurses strike
On Saturday, employees of Cedar Haven Healthcare Center, who are members of AFSCME Local 2732, took to the picket line for the second day.
The owner of the nursing home, Chas B. Blalack of Stone Barn Holdings, has yet to agree to come back to the bargaining table, after he imposed his “last, best and final offer” on the employees. That offer, which the owner began implementing despite employees rejecting it, included drastic increases to employees’ healthcare costs and cuts to their paid time off.
“I started here when I was 19 years old. I’ve been here 26 years and I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Local 2732 member Nannette Kaczmarek.
“These residents are looked at as a number; it’s not looked at as this being their home where they’re going to live their last day, and that’s not fair to them. (The owner) is disrespecting them as much as he’s disrespecting us by doing this to them. They deserve to have their workers in there that have been taking care of them since day one. The residents look at us as family.”
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 narrowly averted a strike last year. This year, they are taking a stand.
“(The owner) should come back and negotiate with us and be more fair. I’m a longtime employee; I’ve been here 38 years and it’s like taking everything away from us. It’s not nice. We’re here for the residents; that’s my second family,” said Local 2732 member June Bomberger.
Nurses rallied around the building at multiple picket lines, chanting and receiving a lot of support from the local community, including the local pizza shop. They will continue to strike until Stone Barn Holdings returns to the bargaining table and agrees to a fair deal.
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.