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Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Workers at Newfane Rehabilitation center organized an informational picket today, seeking higher wages for healthcare workers. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

BY +Scott Leffler

Approximately 40 people joined in the informational picket.
NEWFANE -- On a day that saw Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce a new minimum wage for state employees, about 40 workers at Newfane Rehabilitation Center were picketing a potential reduction in what they're calling already-too-low salaries.

Todd Hobler, vice president of WNY Nursing Home division of SEIU1199 said the nursing home was recently bought by a for-profit downstate business who is seeking wage reductions from employees.

"Typical nursing home workers are making around $12 an hour," Hobler said. The new employer wants to reduce the start rate "down closer to minimum wage ... and that's a huge problem ... We're trying to get the message out that that's not acceptable. That the people working there don't make enough as it is."

Today's picket was part of a "National Day of Action" that saw similar pickets across the country "calling for a higher wage and union rights for all."

"We need $15 for nursing home workers ... and home care workers ... and child care workers," Hobler said. "People caring for the sick and elderly shouldn't have to work on poverty wages."

The campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour began as a series of small protests by fast food workers three years ago and has grown into a national movement of low-wage workers, from nursing home and homecare workers, to retail and airport workers.

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.

The picket was part of a nationwide campaign for higher wages for workers. 


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