Meadow Park has a unique history with SEIU Local 503 as the first nursing home to join the union, providing an example for dozens of other nursing homes across Oregon. The facility was purchased by an out-of-state corporation called Cornerstone Holdings in January of 2018, and this started a grueling sixteen months of bargaining as SEIU members fought to hold onto the gains we made over years of collective action. Many of the employees at Meadow Park have stuck with the company for their whole career, with some holding more than forty years of loyal employment with the company.
Cornerstone was determined to fight us from the moment they purchased the facility, at first refusing to recognize our union agreement and then refusing to recognize fair raises and benefits for the workers who make that facility great. Members at the home were not about to take that deal without a fight. They got organized and spent well over a year fighting for an adequate contract and building relationships with each other, an essential part of any strong union.
On Monday, May 6th, we finally ratified a new contract with Meadow Park and Cornerstone that is going to provide retroactive pay raises for our members all the way back to June of 2018. We also won another pay increase in June, part of their regular scheduled pay adjustments, and long-time CNAs and CMAs are going to see a $0.20/hr wage increase per year of experience, up to ten years. Dietary, housekeeping, and other aid and nursing staff will also see a pay increase of 2.5% retroactive to June 1st, 2018, making this one of the most sweeping victories in the facility’s history.
“The last 16 months of bargaining with our employers has been a learning experience,” says Cheryl Vonk. “There were times I am sure the employer thought that we would give up. But, with the help of our Union, workers stood together, stayed strong, and won!”
SEIU 503 members are growing their strength at Meadow Park as they join together with the other nursing home workers across SEIU Local 503 to create fighting force for the fights, both contractual and legislative, in the next year.
The Meadow Park employees will be having a celebration event on June 19th, from 12:30pm – 4:30pm, at 475 S. 18th Street in St. Helens, Oregon. Register here if you would like to attend!