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One day strike at Gowanda nursing home

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-980147.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A 24-hour strike ended this morning by health care workers at the Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers walked off the job Monday morning. They've been trying to reach a new contract deal since May.

This strike ended just a minute before 6 a.m. Tuesday. They walked off the job in an attempt to apply pressure to the New York City owners of the Gowanda facility.

The workers include nurse's assistants, housekeepers and dietary workers. SEIU organizer Jim Crampton says the union provided a ten-day notice to hold its strike, but the owners did not budge.

Workers want a contract that does not cut the employer contributions to the health care insurance.

WBFO News contacted the administrative department of the nursing home. We were issued a written statement. The Gowanda nursing home says its latest three year proposal included across the board wage increases and claims it proposed no increases in employee health insurance contributions for those electing for family coverage or those workers with at least six years of service with single coverage.

Gowanda did propose a ten percent increase for workers with less than six years of service for single health coverage. But Crampton says workers expect more.

The company and union held seven bargaining sessions with the union, most recently on July 27th. During the one-day strike, the facility hired made sure residents received the same care by hiring temporary replacement employees.

Both sides are expecting to resume negotiations.