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UHW to SEIU, Nursing Home Chain: Stop Undermining Workers

Kindred Healthcare Tries to Weaken Caregivers, Oppose Quality Improvements

* 4 p.m., Monday, March 10: Press Conference, Kindred Healthcare California District Office

750 Battery St., San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Caregivers are denouncing the Kindred nursing home chain's attempts to weaken its employees and their union, United Healthcare Workers-West, before bargaining for a new contract is scheduled to begin.

Within the next month, caregivers at 11 Kindred homes represented by UHW expect to open negotiations for a contract that includes fair wages, quality benefits, and a voice on the job to improve resident care. Kindred, for its part, has long opposed the workers' efforts to win safe staffing and other compliance issues at their nursing homes.

In fact, management at Kindred has attempted to subvert the workers' right to be in the union of their own choice by denying the workers the right to vote on the job, and stating clearly they would prefer to work directly with SEIU international leaders rather than California-based workers. Kindred management also has rallied other nursing home operators to prevent UHW members from participating in an internal union vote at their facilities--a practice never before challenged.

Kindred's philosophical position at the workplace is to limit workers' right to speak out. The company is a leading advocate for a scaled down collective bargaining agreement that restricts workers' rights. These contracts, known as template agreements, are ones that UHW is opposing in contract negotiations with Kindred, but SEIU is willing to renew in order to get organizing rights at other facilities.

A look at Kindred's record makes it clear why it would prefer not to deal locally with UHW:

-- Kindred's citations regarding resident care are above the state average. The company received 12.3 at each facility a year.

-- Kindred homes are below the state average for direct care hours provided to residents.

-- Kindred's staff turnover rate in 2006 was nearly 45 percent. That's directly attributable to Kindred's inadequate wages and benefits.

The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

CONTACT: Kim Curtis

Cell: 510-206-8248


SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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