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Holyoke Soldiers Home Members: “We’ve Got Issues”

November 19, 2015

More than fifty Local 888 members from the Holyoke Soldiers Home attended a membership meeting on October 20 with leaders and staff from the union. Members spoke out about the challenges and problems they are facing at work.

[caption id="attachment_6407" align="alignright" width="300"]Members at the Holyoke Soldiers Home met with union reps in October to begin a campaign for more respect.Members at the Holyoke Soldiers Home met with union reps in October to begin a campaign for more respect.[/caption]

Below are just a few of the comments that members made:

Staffing ▪ We are short staffed. The Human Resource department is acting like judge, jury and executioner. They forget that we have families and a life. ▪ We need incident reports for “assignment despite objection.”

Policies and Procedures ▪ The policies about the care of veterans are well documented and applied evenly across the board. Yet the policies towards employees are different with each supervisor. The managers just do whatever they want, ignoring long standing policies and procedures. ▪ Management has become anti-worker and antiunion. Not following progressive discipline. They don’t follow the rules and are running roughshod on us.

Time Off ▪ Accessing time off is getting harder and harder. If you don’t use it, you lose it. ▪ “No call, no show” is automatic discipline. We’re told: “It’s not a policy, it’s my practice.” ▪ Our personal days should not be at the discretion of the supervisor. ▪ Members who use Family and Medical Leave are being targeted. People shouldn’t be punished for using it. ▪ Vacation scheduling is terrible. After 17 years I should be able to get the holidays I request.

Education ▪ What happened to incentives for education and advancement? ▪ There is no support for CNAs. Management used to accommodate us for education.

Working conditions ▪ Our working conditions and the negative environment mean we are working under severe anxiety and concern for our jobs. ▪ The hostile work environment is causing high turnover, over 30 percent of employees have quit and 40 percent want to leave. ▪ Some of the time clocks are broken. Then we have to find one that works. It isn’t our fault for being a minute late.

Respect ▪ Management is so vindictive. We need training on exercising our rights. We need stewards training. We need more stewards and union contracts. ▪ Paychecks are incorrect or short money. We have to wait two weeks for overtime pay. And when they make a mistake, they expect you to fix it.

Local 888 has assigned additional staff and will conduct trainings on “enforcing your contract” and “your rights on the job” to assist members with problems at the Soldiers Home. While the grievance procedure has been “jump started” with some good settlements, more members will have to “step up” to win the respect that all employees deserve!