UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Frustrated healthcare workers picketed in front of the Masonic Care Community earlier today after months of bargaining for fair healthcare insurance, continuing their pensions, and staffing issues.
“After everything we’ve been through with COVID it shouldn’t be that hard to get what we’re asking for we’re asking for a fair contract,” Rochelle Nichols, CNA at Masonic Home explained.
Masonic Care management presented their final offer last night, which included ending employee pension contributions and increasing health insurance costs. The nursing home workers were joined by local politicians, in calling for the masonic care community to come back to the table to negotiate with the workers.
“This is really really important work,” Celeste Friend, Utica Common Council Member said. “It deserves to be well paid these workers deserve to be able to retire in security these workers deserve to have safe working conditions and right now Masonic Care Community isn’t providing that.”
Every three years the healthcare workers negotiate their contracts with Masonic Care, and they believe that what they are asking for is fair and what they deserve, they also fear that if they don’t receive these benefits turnover rates will continue to increase and that the quality of care for residents will decrease
“We are physically and mentally exhausted,” Nichols said. “It is exhausting to works hours and hours and hours without breaks and vacations due to the lack of staff.”
A representative from Masonic Care Community sent a written statement via email saying,
“MCC is proposing a stronger and more viable 403(b) retirement plan option which is not being
accurately represented to employees,” Randy Bogar the Director of Human Resources
for MCC said. “Employees would benefit by having their own individual retirement accounts they can
personally oversee and manage, including their own investment options.”