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Berks Heim Members Ratify 5-Year Union Contract
Updated On: Apr 02, 2019
READING (April 2, 2019) - On April 2nd, Berks Heim nursing home employees represented by United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776 Keystone State overwhelmingly approved a new five-year contract agreement today that preserves long-term, quality resident care and ensures long-term job security for hundreds of Berks Heim members who serve the Berks County community. Ratified by over 80% of those who voted, the approved contract covers approximately 300 current 1776KS members working in the Berks Heim facility, located in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the approved contract, Local 1776KS, along with SEIU Healthcare PA which represents the nurses in the facility, has been collaborating with county officials, Senator Judy Schwank and Governor Tom Wolf to work on solutions to secure additional funding for Berks Heim and other high-performing, quality long-term care facilities like the Heim through state Medicaid Reimbursement programs and other funding mechanisms. With this joint effort, Berks Heim has seen increased state funding through Medicaid Reimbursement rates and other funds over the past two state budgets.
As a sign of this collaborative effort, UFCW 1776KS opened negotiations early as a show of good faith. Contract negotiations wrapped up in March after several months of negotiations. The 5-year contract agreement includes a 3% yearly wage increase over the previous contract’s 2.5% year-over-year wage increase, protects employees’ healthcare, and locks in language that secures Berks Heim employees’ jobs for years to come, with significant penalties if the county were to violate the agreement.
“I am proud of the hard work and commitment of our bargaining committee members at Berks Heim. Through months of negotiations, our committee remained steadfast and ensured all key issues were addressed,” said UFCW Local 1776KS president, Wendell Young IV. “Working on this contract has helped to develop a better relationship with Berks Heim county officials and I would like to thank the County Commissioners, particularly Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt and Commissioner Christian Leinbach for their engagement with our membership, as well as SEIU Healthcare – their membership, the bargaining committee and SEIU Healthcare PA President Matt Yarnell. I am grateful for both Senator Judy Schwank and Governor Tom Wolf, who showed crucial, steadfast support of our members who work at Berks Heim. This contract allows our members to continue to provide exemplary care to Berks County residents and keeps the nursing home in County hands where it belongs.”
Berks Heim is a county-owned and operated nursing and rehabilitations facility located in Leesport, Pennsylvania. Berks Heim serves Berks County residents, providing both short and long-term care. UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State represents over 35,000 members, including nursing home employees, across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York.