July 24, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Jersey City, NJ—Avery Eisenreich is a multimillionaire and CEO of Alaris Health who is refusing to bargain in good faith with 450 caregivers, even though the company made over $40 million in profit in 2012, according to their union 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East.
In the accompanying video, we interviewed Milly Silva, executive vice president with 1199SEIU, and two certified nurse assistants to find out why a multi-millionaire is balking on reaching a new labor contract with the caregivers.
“We have a contract that expired four months ago; we have had 16 bargaining sessions [but] management hasn’t presented a proposal that is going to address the workers’ need for fair wages, affordable benefits and instead has engaged in a number of unfair labor practices,” said Silva.
In fact, the ongoing labor violations committed by Alaris is pushing the union to call for a strike if management doesn’t desist.
“Over 96 percent of the workers at Alaris have voted to authorize the bargaining team to issue a strike notice. But the reality is workers don’t want to have to go on strike; they want to settle their contract. But management has not really bargained, but is instead intimidating workers,” Silva said.
In addition to the ongoing contract dispute, the 1199SEIU caregivers at the Alaris health facility in Guttenberg, NJ face the prospect of being displaced from the facility because the owner, Mr. Eisenreich, has plans to demolish the facility because he wants to build a luxury high-rise building.
Lovette Howard, a certified nurse assistant who works at the Guttenberg facility, said during the press conference it’d be very hard financially to go on strike but she is prepared to do that to win a new contract.
“I have money saved up, but if it means fighting for better wage increases for my kids [then] that sets an example for them so that they don’t have to go through the same struggle I’m going through,” said Howard.
We also interviewed Ronald, a CNA at an Alaris facility in Jersey City for almost 18 years, who told us, after we told him that we were going over to Alaris corporate headquarters at 35 Journal Square to get their reaction, just one block from the PATH train center where the presser was held, that he wants the company to work towards a new contract.
“Make us a fair offer. We want a fair offer, and then we can go from there. That’s all we can do.”