UC Mayor supports Manhattanview Health Care union workers in picket for health insurance
Around 15 employees of Union City's Manhattanview Health Care Center wore purple shirts with “99%” emblazoned in yellow on the front and walked back and forth to the beat of a metal bucket dented almost in half with a spoon before hurrying off at ten minutes to three to make their evening shift on time. Another 15 employees then took over, many after completing their morning shifts.
They came to continue the non-strike picket in protest of the fact that all of them, many whom have worked at the nursing home for over ten years, are in danger of losing their health insurance if they do not renew their union contract that has been under negotiation for over a year.
The workers who man the front lines of the operation – from housekeeping to nursing to linens to recreation – are all part of the New Jersey Union 1199 SEIU of United Healthcare Workers East. The irony of the possible loss of health insurance, union Communications Coordinator James Canonge explained, is that these workers, whose very business is health and wellbeing, are at risk of losing their own.
Mayor and state Senator Brian Stack had planned to join the picketers Wednesday afternoon, but was unable due to scheduling conflicts.
“I support them one hundred percent,” Stack said in a phone call. “They deserve decent wages. These are people who work extremely hard taking care of people at various stages of their lives when they most need it in the nursing home.”
Employee and housekeeper Maria Valdez joined in on the chant, “Be fair to those who care,” and explained that it was an issue of morality that those who support others should work without proper support themselves.
“We need benefits, which is why we're fighting,” she said in Spanish. “And at the very least, we need a contract. It makes us feel like immigrants without papers.”
Manhattanview has 85 total employees who provide 142 residents with long-term care. Their contract expired on June 15, 2011, and they've held six collective bargaining sessions since May of 2011 with Broadway Healthcare Management who oversees the Union City location and two additional nursing homes in Perth Amboy and Teaneck.
“Workers have come to the table to negotiate, and all management has done is take,” Canonge said. “The population is growing older, and demand for this work is increasing. The goal is to raise public awareness of the increasing plight of the health care crisis in the nation, as well as for those who care for the health of others.”
The only offer management has made thus far, he continued, was to drop new hires' hourly wage from the current rate of $9 per hour. Most longer-term employees make between $10 and $11.
“I think the owners of the nursing home have not treated them fairly in any respect in work environment, in benefits, and across the board, and I think they deserve much better,” Stack added. “They have my support and anything I can do to help them I will.”
A receptionist at Manhattanview said all management had left for the day in response to a call for comment on Thursday. Broadway Healthcare did not return a call by press time.
Rumored delay of local 2013 Formula One Grand Prix race denied
CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone expressed concerns that the Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to run in Weehawken and West New York in 2013, may be delayed due to outstanding contracts and funding issues, ESPN reported Wednesday.
“We don’t comment on our contractual relationship with Formula One or its details,” spokesman Steve Sigmund said in statement sent to The Reporter by Global Strategy Group’s Communications Vice President Alex Howe. “We are on track for a June 2013 race, with all course engineering and construction progressing precisely on schedule, a strong management team in place, and strong ongoing support from New Jersey, New York City and the local communities involved. We are very confident that the 2013 F1 Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial will be a great event.”
Union City to host artist awards
Mayor Brian P. Stack and the Board of Commissioners will hold the first ever Union City Artist Awards on Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, 420 15th Street, Union City. The awards will honor the most talented and dedicated artists from all disciplines who have contributed to Union City’s artistic fabric.
The elegant red carpet event will feature live music by the group (U)nity, as well as various other guest performances.
Admission is free. Dress to impress.
West New York offers senior trips and events
West New York’s Senior Center will hold five events for seniors in June. On June 9, there will be a Father’s Day luncheon at Hudson Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $5, which includes food and entertainment.
On June 13, there will be an Atlantic City casino trip from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for $20, and on June 23 they will travel to Amish country from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for $25.
On June 27, there will be a senior trip to Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan to see Cirque deu Soleis’ ‘Zarkana.’ They will depart at 12:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $45.
On June 29, Hudson Hall will host its monthly seniors’ birthday party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Hudson Hall is located at 6018 Hudson St., and events take place on the second floor. For more information, call the Senior Center at (201) 295-5144.
Union City mayor schedules five Mobile City Hall dates
Mayor Brian Stack has scheduled five Mobile City Hall dates for June. He will be at St. Anthony School at 700 Central Ave. on June 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. On Friday, June 8, he will be at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, 420 15th St. from 12 to 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, June 13, Stack will make three appearances: he will be at Union City Motorcycle Squad, 417 43rd St. from 8 to 10 a.m., the library at Jose Martí Freshman Academy, 1800 Summit Ave. from 12 to 2 p.m., and at Union City Career Academy, 4100 Palisade Ave. from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
NHCAC announces registration for new programs
North Hudson Community Action Corporation celebrates National Community Action Month by announcing the beginning of its new programs.
They will offer two semesters of free English as a Second Language classes. The summer semester begins in June, and the fall semester in September. Call (201) 943-2410 for more information or to register.
They will also offer a financial literacy workshop series. Call (201) 866-9320, ext. 213, for more information. Both individual and corporate instruction is available.
Union City to name poet laureate
Union City will name its poet laureate during an introduction ceremony on Saturday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, 420 15th St.
Ben “Broken English” Figueroa will be named the city’s poet laureate, and the event will feature live poetry performances by poets and performing artists. There will be music and refreshments. Admission is free and everyone is invited.
For more info on the Union City art scene, visit: www.UnionCityArtScene.blogspot.com
For now, Ben may be reached by calling the Union City Office of Public Affairs, at 201-348-5746. Visit Ben’s blog at: www.LaureateLive.blogspot.com
For more info on the Union City art scene, visit: www.UnionCityArtScene.blogspot.com.