Lakeside Nursing Home Workers Settle Contract with New Owners; Victory for Workers and Community

(Ithaca) The 130 workers at Lakeside Nursing Home, organized through their union the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199, today reached a new labor agreement with Peregrine Health Management, the new owners of Lakeside (now officially Cayuga Ridge) Nursing Home.

Healthcare workers at Lakeside had been told last week that they had to reapply for their jobs, would have their wages lowered, and lose retirement pensions. SEIU1199 and the Tompkins County Workers’ Center worked together last week to avert the threatened loss of jobs, benefits, and pensions. State Assemblyperson Barbara Lifton, City of Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson, and Reverend Rich Rose of the First Baptist Church in Ithaca joined the Workers’ Center Press Conference with SEIU1199 last Wednesday in support of the healthcare workers.

The final agreement between the workers and Peregrine was approved by an overwhelming majority of the workers and includes a wage increase; preserves benefits and pensions; keeps seniority in place; and does not force workers to reapply for their jobs. Johnny Wright, a custodian at the nursing home and SEIU union delegate and bargaining team member called the contract a “fair settlement which shows that when people stick together and demand what’s fair, they will surely win.”

The Tompkins County Workers Center is very pleased with the workers victory as it demonstrates clearly that when an organized group of workers joins together with the community, we are empowered to achieve a just settlement. The Workers’ Center applauds the workers there for their courage in confronting management and for helping to inspire and remind all workers in the community that ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.

SEIU1199 and the Workers Center have pledged to continue to work closely together to fight for living wages and justice for all workers in Tompkins County.