Union health care workers picket at Woodbury nursing facility over possible layoffs

Dozens of off-duty 1199 SEIU health care members at Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Woodbury picketed Thursday, saying potential cuts are putting them even more at risk.
The union says it was told by the company that owns the facility that it is looking to lay off roughly 60 union members. The union claims they are being replaced with agency workers, who are nonunion members.
They say it will drastically reduce the quality of care for residents after both workers and residents were hit hard by COVID-19.
"You need continuity of care," says April Jackson, a 1199 SEIU member. "These agency people come in here, they don't stay, they weren't here during the pandemic when these residents were dying. They were not here to help anyone, but they're here now to take our jobs."
Union workers brought signs to the street, with messages like, "Think of the residents" and "Stop the greed!"
News 12 spoke to a man who lost his mother, who was a resident at the facility, in April to what he believes was COVID-19. He says when his mom was there, workers told him they were shorthanded.
"They told me they were understaffed when my mother was there and they just did not have enough help, and now they want to cut it?" he says.
The man says he can't believe that there would be any more layoffs.
A spokesperson from Cold Spring Hills tells News 12 they are not hiring agency workers to replace the laid off employees. They go on to say, "We respect our employees' rights to picket and express themselves as some off-duty workers are doing today. The ongoing COVID pandemic has caused a decrease in the number of new residents at Cold Spring Hills, and has forced the suspension our Adult Day Care Program. Regrettably, we are forced to lay-off some of our employees beginning in September. We hope these layoffs are temporary, and that we will be able to hire these employees back when we are cleared to resume our normal schedule of full services."