Hundreds of county health care workers vote to join the USW

A group of roughly 500 workers at four Kane Community Living Centers across the Pittsburgh region voted unanimously last Friday to join the USW.

Debbie Blakeley, a recreation aide at the Kane Centers’ Ross Township facility, said that she and her colleagues voted to join the union in order to pursue workplace rights and a voice on the job as well as stronger wages and benefits.

“Respect is a big thing for all of us,” said Blakeley, who has worked at the Kane Centers for 37 years. “I’m looking forward to working with the union to get what we deserve, because we all work really hard.”

The bargaining unit will consist of Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), dietary and recreation aides, housekeeping workers, and material handlers at the four Allegheny County-run assisted living and senior facilities.

The new bargaining committee will enter negotiations for a first contract as USW members in the coming weeks, and 17-year Kane employee Desirae Beatty said she is more than ready for a positive change.

“We’ve been striving all year to make this election happen, and I am so glad we can now move on to the work of bargaining a fair contract,” said Beatty. “We have shown the county and Kane that we can organize and move as one.”

These essential workers join the nearly 150 other Allegheny County workers represented by the USW and the more than 50,000 other USW-represented health care workers across North America.

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