Jamesville: Workers seek labor contract negotiations

By Darryl Patteson

Employees of the Iroquois Nursing Home in Jamesville and their supporters took to a neighborhood street March 26 in an effort to get word out about their vote to join the United Health Care Union.

About 75 people, coming in two busloads, held a 45-minute, candlelit march in the street outside of the Nursing Home President Sonya Moshier's home in East Syracuse.

Iroquois employee Carol Rommevaux summed up the reasons for the vigil, saying, "We want to make life better for residents and workers."

The employees voted to join 1199 SEIU on March 7. However, the group has yet to reach the bargaining table with Iroquois to work out a contract.

The Iroquois workers and many supporters walked a circle in front of Moshier's house holding candles and signs with messages like "Sonya Let's Negotiate, Come to the Table," "Be Fair to Those Who Care" and "We're Fighting for Our Families."

Rommevaux called an agreement "very close" to happening.

"We haven't gotten to the bargaining table, but you can see the support tonight," she said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg."

Dave Salati, an employee of Community General Hospital and a member of 1199, was one of many area health care workers to support the Iroquois employees at the vigil.

"We've heard their story and it's similar to what every home goes through," he said. "This is a show of support."

Syracuse China, the Jewish Home, Loretto Nursing Home and the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) were just some of the groups that came out in support of Iroquois workers.

Al Davidoff, a vice president for 1199, organized the vigil.

"Worker's have the right to form a Union," Davidoff said. "They're weathered it and they're going to succeed and get a good contract."

The vigil in front of Moshier's home is not a regular occurrence, however, those taking to the streets agreed that it was important to get their message out.

"It's unusual to come out to a residential neighborhood, but it was so important that we came to the administrator's home," Salati said.

There was very little activity in front of or inside Moshier's residence and the family made no comment before the rally. Traffic was allowed to pass on Innsbruck Road, where the vigil took place, with the assistance of a DeWitt police officer and a Manlius officer.

As of publication, no agreement had been reached between Iroquois Nursing Home and the employees.

Patteson is a freelance contributor to Eagle Newspapers

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