Workers slate five-day strike at Jewish Home

Barring an improbable breakthrough, workers at San Francisco’s Jewish Home were scheduled to walk off their jobs late Thursday night, Dec. 23, for a five-day strike.

The action follows a one-day strike on Nov. 22, when employees of the SEIU Local 250 protested the Jewish Home’s unilateral imposition of a labor contract that calls for partial employee funding of health care benefits.

“We’re striking unless management comes back to the table and has no cuts in workers’ health insurance and no freezes in wages,” said Glenn Goldstein, the union’s organizing director.

“I think management is intensifying their efforts. They’ve implemented their final offer. They have started wage freezes, they are encouraging people to get out of the union. Workers need to make decisions here.”

Daniel Ruth, the Home’s CEO, expressed “extraordinary disappointment” at the decision to strike, and promised that the work stoppage would have “no impact on the home in terms of bargaining position.”

“We have said all along, until the union recognizes and accepts that the Jewish Home has significant financial issues which are becoming more and more significant each and every day, we cannot have a constructive dialogue,” he said.

Ruth further accused the union of “knowingly misrepresenting” the Home’s financial conditions.

Goldstein, however, stood by union claims that the Jewish Home has turned a $34 million profit over the past five years.

“I think we have a pretty good understanding of their position,” he said. “They’re trying to make structural changes on the backs of the caregivers, and to the caregivers this is unacceptable.”

Ruth Segarra, a nurse at the Jewish Home for the past 23 years, said walking off the job is an incredibly painful and unpleasant decision.

“We could have had the strike on Chaunkah, but we didn’t. We respect the Jewish religion, and felt the elderly needed to enjoy the holiday season,” she said.

“We’re willing to sacrifice for what we believe in as a union and maintain our 100 percent benefits and a fair wage.”

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi is the managing editor at Mission Local. He is a former editor-at-large at San Francisco magazine, former columnist at SF Weekly and a former J. staff writer.