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Photo by William Kauffman

Cedar Haven Workers Shine Spotlight on Employer

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By William Kauffman, AFSCME Council 13 Worth the Fight Workers' Rights
Cedar Haven Healthcare Center employees are calling on the owner to return to the bargaining table. (Photo by Karen Li)
Cedar Haven Healthcare Center employees are calling on the owner to return to the bargaining table. (Photo by Karen Li)

Nearly three months into their strike, 60 members of AFSCME Local 2732 (Council 13) filled a Lebanon County Commissioners meeting to deliver more than 1,250 cards signed by residents of the county, urging the commissioners to get involved in the labor dispute.

After hearing comments from Lebanon community members, Cedar Haven Healthcare Center employees and families of Cedar Haven residents, the commissioners agreed to write to Cedar Haven owner Chas Blalack, asking him to move toward a resolution.

Blalack forced 225 Cedar Haven employees out in October 2017 after he imposed his “last, best and final” offer on them without their approval. Blalack’s offer would have increased workers’ health care costs and cut their paid time off.

Local 2732 President Penny Kleinfelter and Executive Board member Danielle Kolar spoke at the meeting to make the commissioners aware of the situation at the nursing home, and to warn them to think twice before selling other county assets to Stone Barn Holdings, as they sold Cedar Haven in 2014.

“I stay there because I love the work I do,” Kolar, who lives in Lebanon and has worked at Cedar Haven for 18 years, told the commissioners.

Workers have been walking the picket line for months, enduring all types of weather, waiting for the owner to agree to return to the bargaining table to work out a fair contract.

Cedar Haven earned a 100 percent deficiency-free rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and is rated among the best facilities in the nation, because of the dedicated nurses and staff. They deserve a fair contract, and will never quit until they get the respect they deserve.