Kingston, NY—An informational picket by employees at Ulster-Greene ARC is set for Friday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The picket at the ARC administration building, 471 Albany Ave., Kingston, is designed to call attention to a state-wide trend—an increasing number of health and human services workers are leaving their jobs because they can’t afford to stay. Turnover is the top issue facing the workforce, the employers, and the individuals they serve.
Approximately 700 full- and part-time employees at Ulster-Greene ARC, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 200United, are in the midst of a contract battle focusing mostly on wages and cost of health insurance. “Management has a responsibility to the employees to provide a living wage that allows the employees to continue quality and consistent care of the individuals receiving services,” said Local 200United Representative Andrea Campbell.
Not only is Ulster-Greene proposing a 1½% annual raise for the employees in direct care, maintenance, transportation, LPNs and RNs, but an increase in the cost of health insurance. “Our position is that they should keep the benefit costs steady while increasing wages to draw in a good workforce,” Campbell added. “The turnover rate has been high, resulting in the quality and consistency of care decreasing.”
Recent funding cuts to the state Office of People With Developmental Disabilities have made matters difficult at Ulster-Greene ARC. Local 200United keeps working to get those cuts restored.
The workers at Ulster-Greene ARC deserve better, just as the individuals receiving services grow accustomed to their caregivers and feel confident in the consistency of care.