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Union Members Hold Demonstrations at Philadelphia Nursing Home

Union alleges racially insensitive and hostile work environment.

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders and members of AFSCME District Council 33, Local 488, held two demonstrations today at Fairmount Long Term Care/Philadelphia Nursing Home, located at 2100 West Girard Avenue. The first demonstration was held at 6:30 a.m. and the second one was held at 2:30 p.m.

Tensions among workers at the Philadelphia Nursing Home continue to intensify in the face of management's failure to take appropriate action to address the racially insensitive conduct of one of its managers. The Union representing the workers has filed charges with the Human Relations Commission.

AFSCME Local 488 Business Manager Evon Sutton said: "Management's failure to redress what the workers perceive to be a racially insensitive and hostile work environment directly interferes with the mission of the workers, and frustrates a dedicated workforce that deserves better."

The triggering incident occurred on August 2, 2007, when a Unit Manager posted a cartoon of a monkey with the legend: "Stand tall, reach for the stars, and always use deodorant."

The cartoon was placed on a bulletin board in an employee locker room. The document incensed the predominantly African-American workforce. The PNH investigation confirmed the identity of the Unit Manager, a Caucasian, as the responsible party. However, no disciplinary action has been imposed.

According to Sutton, PNH's lack of response represents a double standard. "In every case in which an hourly worker is charged with misconduct," Sutton said, "the employee involved is immediately suspended pending an investigation. In this case, management took absolutely no action, despite confirmation of the allegation."

The hourly workforce has engaged in demonstrations and the Union has suggested that Management, at minimum, reassign the Unit Manager, to provide the parties some relief.

Members of AFSCME Local 488 who are employed at the Nursing Home provide critical, direct, hands-on care to the Home's residents to assure that they live in comfort and with dignity.

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