AFSCME members at Menlo Park Veterans Home take job action to protest low staffing

AFSCME members at Menlo Park Veterans Home take job action to protest low staffing

Trenton, NJ – Members of AFSCME Local 979 and other employees at Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home began protesting outside of the facility today to call for better staffing ratios at the facility.

“We are tired,” said AFSCME NJ Local 979 President Shirley Suddoth-Lewis. “We are tired of being overworked and underappreciated. Management has repeatedly ignored our pleas to hire an adequate number of nurses and other necessary staff to care for our veterans.

“The health and wellness of our veterans is at the core of who we are,” she says. “We strive to ensure that they are happy, healthy, and comfortable at all times. But when we are short-staffed, the patients are the ones who suffer the most. We have been stretched too thin for too long and now it is time to demand action.”

Members of AFSCME Local 979, Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers (IFTPE) left the building at noon during their break to join their sisters and brothers who were not on the schedule to protest outside of the facility.

“The sisters and brothers of CWA stand united with our fellow unions AFSCME and IFTPE,” said Thomas Hummel of CWA and an employee at MPVMH. “We all want to make sure that our residents receive the best possible care and that there is no unfair treatment of residents and staff.”

IFTPE members echoed the concerns as AFSCME and CWA. “We are tired of being disrespected by management, and working shorthanded,” said MPVMH employee and IFTPE member Jean Lormine. “The health and wellbeing of the veterans is our main concern. They should be living in a clean and safe facility. They deserve to have our full attention, but when we are constantly working shorthanded we are unable to give them that.”

“I applaud all the members who are taking action today,” said AFSCME New Jersey Executive Director Steve Tully. “The morale of the employees and quality of care for the clients are at stake. These caregivers have the courage to speak up for what’s right for our veterans. We are proud of the workers at Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home for standing up today.”

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

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