As we previously reported, the workers at Belknap County Nursing Home participated in a large rally at the facility last week prior to a special meeting of the County Delegation who were discussing and voting on whether to appropriate the funds for their contract.
Sadly, the delegation allowed politics and petty differences between themselves and the County Commissioners to overturn common sense and decency – they voted to not fund the contract that would have provided the workers with a modest 1.6% wage increase.
An important part of the story, that no delegation member can take away from the nursing home workers, is the fact that the rally marked a first for many of them. Standing together, reminding policy makers of the need to provide quality care to the elderly, is critical to fully funding these services. For most of these workers, holding signs at a rally was a first time event. Standing up for decent wages so they can feed their families was a first time event. And being joined by workers from other worksites, other unions and from other walks of life was also a first time experience.
“We were proud to join these workers in their first opportunity to experience the feeling of empowerment and solidarity workers standing with each other provides,” said Diana Lacey, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 president. “Even though we were unhappy with the final vote, the workers who stood outside for hours holding their signs and standing up for themselves were amazing. We tried to make it fun too, especially for their kids!”Lacey and 1st Vice President Ken Roos were both in attendance, along with about a dozen other SEA staff.
“I am so disappointed these people did not get their raise,” said Chapter 1 member Thea Aloise. “I want to keep this issue in the forefront until the fall elections. People need to remember how the delegation voted on this and make it count in the next election when they cast their votes.” Aloise’s husband is a resident at Belknap County Nursing Home and she is extremely pleased with the quality of care he is receiving there.
We wish to thank all the delegates who voted in favor of appropriating the dollars to fund the workers’ contract. Those delegates are:
Rep. Ruth Gulick – Center Harbor & New Hampton
Rep. Lisa DiMartino – Gilford & Meredith
Rep. David Huot – Laconia
Rep. Robert Luther – Laconia
Rep. Dennis Fields – Sanbornton & Tilton
Rep. Ian Raymond – Sanbornton & Tilton
Rep. Beth Arsenault – Belmont & Laconia