He made the trains run on time and controlled the Unions

image - October 23, 2003

Fascism is recognized to have first been officially developed by Benito Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922. To sum up fascism in one word would be to say "anti-liberalism".

...............Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century."

Image Source Page: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/glenn-beck-champions-u-s-pro-nazi-text/

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Picket for Workers at Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility

yoga time at the nursing homeImage by Susan NYC via Flickr
This article has been reprinted from the Local 771 MSEASEIU website. I have taken some liberty with the formatting and presentation.

No pay raise in a year, management wants to make that four years.A three year contract with no raises is management's idea of a contract offer. (I wonder if they will guarantee their rates for residents for three years?)

The workers have the support of the town and on Monday, they picketed.

The demonstration on 11.02.09 was in a little coastal town named Milbridge. where the median income for a household is $22,371, and the median income for a family was $27,120.

Milbridge is a beautiful place and the residents there are friendly and caring. This includes a place called Narraguagus Bay Health Care Facility (NBHCF). It has 65 beds, both nursing home and residential care folks live here.

When a family member as well as comes into the facility they are treated like family even if the care givers have never met them before. The residential people are encouraged to do what they can so to keep as much independence, self worth and pride as possible.
The nursing home folks are guided through their daily lives as near as normal as can be due to their different disabilities and dementia and health problems. They are treated with respect and dignity.

The workers are not being treated with respect and dignity. One measure of respect is a livable The care givers need a livable wage and $8.06 an hour for the responsibility and knowledge for medications to the residential care people is not a livable wage.
For a 32 hour position, this equals out to: $515.84 every 2 weeks minus $130.09 for health insurance and minus approx. $103.16 for taxes. So that is $282.68 for 2 week or $141.34 a week. Taking home $3.00 and hour is not a livable wage.

Now what the Downeast Federation of Nursing and Other Health Professionals Union, Local 5073 is going to do is let the folks of this fantastic town know just what is happening.

NBHCF is owned by Dr. Steve Weisburger and Managed by North Country.

This is right from the North Country web site: "Mission Statement-North Country is dedicated to providing quality care in comfortable home-like facilities, to maintaining our facilities in a manner which provides best possible resident care in a progressive working environment, and to the delivery of these goals with a warm positive attitude. We offer our employees a professional environment, filled with the rewards of teamwork and making a difference in the lives of those we care for."

The employees have worked under an unsigned contract since June of 2008. Management is now offering a three year contract with a wage freeze in place. No cost of living raise and no step raises (which is in the contract now, through a clause in the contract).

One union member that works in the kitchen is 82 years old. She has been with the company for 28 years. Her wage is $10.40 an hour. Someone off the street can start in her job at $7.50. $2.90 an hour for 28 years of loyalty.

Yes as the last administrator is quoted as saying, it was her choice to work there all those years.

Maybe her choice but many residents have benefited from her kindness and care she has so graciously given for all those years. She was asked and agreed to work a double shift. Never in 28 years of service had she been trained for the evening shift.

Responsibility is a BIG part of this job. The employees work with elderly people, not items on a grocery store shelf. At Wal-Mart, the starting wage is over $12.00.

The employees feel it is their duty to sure the residents are fed, clean, and as active as they can be. The skill and dedication of these employees lets the residents enjoy their lives to the fullest possible.

The workers enjoy their jobs and many have been doing this job for years.  In residential care there are up to 23 residents on the unit. On 3-11 and 11-7 shifts after 5 o'clock there are only 2 staff people on the unit, making it hard or impossible to get breaks.                                                                                                                                                                                The medication person cannot leave the unit unless there is another med person to count and give the keys to so technically med person cannot get a break at all.

The workers take care of medications, blood sugar tests, insulin shots, and eye drops. Judgment calls on whether to send someone to the hospital. Communicate with the doctors about residents and relay if there is anything going on with them.

Some residents can do a lot for themselves but are forgetful, they can be very active in going up and down the hall, walking. Right now 16% need total help getting ready for bed. Each shift has a shower most days to give also, so someone who may be somewhat independent still needs help with the shower.

Then there is the paper work that needs doing so the bills can be sent out correctly.

In the nursing home unit it is pretty much the aides have to do everything thing for the residents. Some have to be fed, most have to be shown the bathroom, and then they have the showers or a tub bath.

Most everyone has to be washed up and dressed or undressed when they get up or when they go to bed. Some have to be taken wherever they need to be for an activity or a meal, or just to look out the window. Sometimes a resident has to be talked into doing what needs to be done, even talk them into eating. Someone has to show them they are still loved.

The LPNs talk to the doctors and do dressings and vital signs of folks just out of the hospital.

The medications have to be handed out, the records must be perfect as there are lives at stake.

The training is constant, skills must be maintained, someone’s loved one depends on their skills.

Getting it right is the employees expertise personal: Certified Residential Medication Assistant- CRMA- a required training, and every has to recertify with a 8 hour refresher course every 2 years, plus has to be a CNA or a PCA Certified Nurse Assistant -CNA- 6-12 week course plus have 12 hours yearly of updating education, and has to work at least one day every 2 years to keep the certification.

Personal Care Assistant-PCA- 3 days training

Certified Medical Assistant Tech- 6 months of training

Licensed Practical Nurses- LPN- 2 years of training plus different special trainings

Cook 1-on the job training but we do have some experienced cooks

Cook 2- Kitchen Aide 1- on the job training and helps the cooks Kitchen Aide 2

Laundry- does the laundry, sews buttons on and at times patches clothes

Housekeepers-dust, wash floors, picks up, wipes off tables and changes the cloths, washes the beds.

You can’t train someone to care. Do you want your Dad or you Mom taken care of by someone paid less than a greeter at Wal-Mart? The Wal-Mart greeters are great people, but “Welcome to Wal-Mart does not have the same level of responsibility as delivering the correct dosage of life saving medication.

Many of the readers of this article are Union members and these workers are our brothers and sisters. Local 771 understands that spirit and I thank Helen for her permission to reprint her articles.

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