Nurses at Erie nursing home that attracted state scrutiny vote to form union

    (Capital-Star photo by Hannah McDonald)

    ERIE, Pa.–  Nearly 100 employees at Twinbrook Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center — the suburban Erie nursing home whose management practices drew scrutiny from state regulators and lawmakers —  have voted to unionize. 

    The Monday vote to form a union with SEIU Healthcare, which represents tens of thousands healthcare workers statewide, was “an important victory for their residents and caregivers after voting overwhelmingly to form their union with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania,” Jen Wood, a senior communications associate at Sequal Consulting said in a statement obtained by the Capital-Star. 

    The group — including Certified Nurses Aids (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and other employees — “came together late last year to address concerns about staffing, low wages and inequities, and lack of input into decisions affecting resident care,” according to the statement released by Sequal Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based progressive communication firm, that helped make the Capital-Star aware of the story earlier this year. 

    Twinbrook first came into the public eye in March when the Capital-Star reported on employee claims of mismanagement during the COVID-19 pandemic at the senior care facility. The employees — said they were short of staff and supplies, and accused management of being indifferent to their needs.

    Responding to Capital-Star story, Pa. lawmaker calls for investigation of Erie nursing home

    In that same statement, Heidi Kaufer, a Twinbrook nurse who led the unionization push, said she was “ecstatic, happy and relieved that we won our union election,” Kaufert said. “Our residents are why we go to work. We care for them and we need the resources and staffing to do so.” 

    A spokesperson for Twinbrook could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Correspondent Hannah McDonald covers Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania for the Capital-Star. Follow her on Twitter @HannahMcD0Nald.