Local 7898 hosts joint labor-management training for nursing home workers

When Local 7898 President James Sanderson began organizing nursing home workers, he didn’t have a firm grip on how the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control communicated with employers and employees. He assumed the state operated like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), where they involved the union directly with their reviews and findings.

That wasn’t the case.

With workplace violence and abuse an unfortunate epidemic within the nursing home industry, Local 7898 President James Sanderson wanted to make sure workers had access to as much information as possible.

“So, I reached out to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) to have them come inform members on how they operate and what to look out for instead of them just having whatever management tells them,” he said.

DHEC accepted the invitation and held a joint labor-management informational session on October 3 in at Local 7898’s union hall in Georgetown, S.C. The director of DHEC’s Community Care Oversight Division overviewed a variety of topics, including the difference between state and federal standards, definitions of abuse and neglect, reporting, and staffing ratios.

Five USW members attended the session, including Ashley Johnson, Minnie Rice, Carol Davis, Lynair Gardner, and Charlette Banks.

To Sanderson, the meeting was a success that should be replicated.

“I would encourage everyone to do this in any sort of nursing facility,” he said. “Members need to have as much information as possible because knowledge is power.”

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