Upon entering the Cayuga Ridge Nursing Home, we were instantly exposed to a really poor working environment. It was clear that the nursing home was quite dirty, very out of date, and just poorly maintained. We initially were supposed to have our meeting in an actual meeting room, however, management, without notice to the union, moved us to the nurses’ cafeteria.
We entered the nurses’ cafeteria which, quite frankly, looked abandoned. Indeed, Baschki told us that management completely shut down the cafeteria a year ago to cut back on staffing. The union did file a charge to bargain over the effects, but the workers ultimately didn’t want the union to fight over this issue and, instead, agreed to either bring their own lunch every day (to consume in the shut-down cafeteria) or go to Cayuga Medical Center’s cafeteria. Upon learning this, I was confused as to how the union just allowed such an important issue to slide. She mentioned that the food was actually quite good, and relatively cheap. By forcing workers to either bring their own food or go to CMC, they would undoubtedly be paying higher prices and wasting valuable lunch/break time. I thought it made sense for the union to push against management on this, in fact, we had a class assignment which dealt with a very similar issue. Nevertheless, it was at this point that I realized how weak the union was in this case.
We learned th...
... middle of paper ...
...ain that she could put enormous pressure on the employer to better these working conditions. I was a bit surprised when she said that she didn’t really think that was feasible for this campaign. Nevertheless, I still thought it would be worth exploring – I’d be interesting in maybe working on this topic for my final paper.
All in all, I thought it was really interesting to see what the nursing home was like and how the contract was enforced. I’ll be interested in meeting with more workers to better understand the issues; but it seems like there are certainly a lot of issues and the union just seems really weak in this workplace. I truly hope that the union is able to improve the conditions for both the workers and even the patients. I am confident that the union has the potential to do so – it’s just a matter of applying pressure and leveraging its power correctly.
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