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Vigil in Brooklyn for workers at four nursing homes in New Jersey working without contract for two years.

Omni Homes Vigil Photo for JLC Website.jpg

Steve Pezenik and Arieh Lebowitz, in Midwood, Brooklyn, representing the United Hebrew Trades – New York Jewish Labor Committee at Candlelight Vigil for Workers Rights. Left: JLC staffperson Steve Pezenik addresses people attending vigil for workers at Omni Nursing Homes in New Jersey, in front of the home of Omni owner Avery Eisenreich. Right: Carolyn Brooks, VP of Homecare Division, 1199SEIU; JLC Communications Director Arieh Lebowitz; Rene Ruiz, organizer , Homecare Division, 1199SEIU. Photographs by Jim Tynan {l} and Steve Pezenik{r}

August 3rd: Union members from across New Jersey and New York came together with one voice, saying “Be Fair to Those Who Care!” Among the community supporters were two representatives of the local Jewish Labor Committee.

Workers at four nursing homes in New Jersey, members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, have been working without a contract for two years. The nursing homes’ owner, Avery Eisenreich, has steadfastly refused to come to the table and negotiate a fair and mutually-acceptable contract. “Workers make as little as $7.90 an hour,” said Denise Bowden, a worker at the Harborview facility for 24 years. “We cannot take care of our families on what little he pays.” Other workers at Eisenreich-owned facilities spoke of their experiences, and their need for a new contract. Max Predestin, a certified nursing assistant (C.N.A) at Bristol Manor said, “It is not an easy decision to strike. We take this very seriously. We're going to stick together and fight for a better life for ourselves and our residents. We want a fair contract now!" Romeo Rodriguez, Dietary Aide at Harbor View said, “The owner has been unwilling to negotiate with us for two years. We need fair wages to support our families and to care for our residents.”

The National Labor Relations Board is currently reviewing charges against Eisenreich and his company, Omni Nursing Homes, which include eliminating overtime, reducing benefits, time off and changing other terms and conditions of employment without negotiating a new contract.

The United Hebrew Trades – New York Jewish Labor Committee has since its founding in 1881 spoken out on behalf of working men and women trying to secure the benefits of union representation. Pezenik and Lebowitz joined the assembled in front of Mr. Eisenreich’s home in Midwood, Brooklyn. “These are intolerable conditions for any worker to live under.” stated Steve Pezenik, representing the New York JLC. “The 1199 members provide a sense of dignity and respect to the seniors in their care on a daily basis. Don’t they deserve the same treatment from Avery Eisenreich? This is shameful.”

Eisenreich, a significant donor to politicians in New Jersey, is reputed to receive a $10,000 per hour salary from one of his many nursing facilities. According to the State of New Jersey ’s Department of Health and Senior Services, he is listed as an officer of at least 13 facilities in New Jersey.

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the New York JLC and other supporters will continue to demand that Avery Eisenreich respects his many workers who care for some of the most vulnerable in our community, and deserve a management that cares for its employees in both word and deed.