Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Offer to Atria and Assisted Living Communities

Atria is still making news as the target for unionizing efforts by SEIU, who is now focusing on yet another Atria community, this one located Riverdale, NY. SEIU, presenting itself as “Senior-care advocates from the Campaign to Improve Assisted Living”, has been zeroing in on the national company’s 121 facilities in 27 states as a prime target for unionizing caregivers throughout the US.

SEIU has issued press releases on Atria beginning some months ago, with the most recent ones coming in a one-two punch August 19 and 21st. In each press release the union focuses on a community with infractions, and their “advocacy” work on behalf of residents. Here’s a paragraph from the press release dated August 19, 2007:
Advocates will deliver an over-sized "Get- Well" card to residents, and ask to meet with facility administrators to discuss the recent viral outbreak that drove residents to their rooms and closed down the communal dining room.
No mention, of course, that over the past few years viral outbreaks like this have occurred in many communal living/dining environments. Some, including one in the state of Washington, resulted in multiple hospitalizations of residents as well as hospitalization of staff and even some emergency workers responding to the situation (these are nasty bugs indeed). Clearly Atria is not alone in experiencing this admittedly dangerous, distressing situation.

And while I’m all for advocacy, I’m truly for advocacy that supports all the needs of the consumer – in this case the senior and his or her family – both in improving care and in increasing accessibility. Explain to me how putting an organized labor union layer between owners, management and caregiver is going to truly achieve either one. As unions siphon off their dues, someone will pay that cost. And the possibility of a labor strike as a tool to increase wages certainly won’t benefit the residents.

So to John Moore, CEO of Atria Senior Living Group and all the other assisted living communities who are interested in genuinely improving care and services, I have an offer for you. We’ll provide to you – at no charge (other than set-up fee) for up to 6 months – our online staff training system, aQuire Training Solutions, to help you demonstrate your commitment to increasing staff training.

Even the SEIU knows that a better trained workforce is a workforce that will provide better quality care. Here’s their press releases’ closing line:
The Campaign to Improve Assisted Living is calling for Atria to make a real investment in front-line care by staffing-up, increasing worker training, and lowering worker turnover.

Atria – we’ll help you achieve this without unionization. Any other assisted living company – the offer stands for you, too. Contact me and I’ll personally sign you up.

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