About 80 members of UFCW Local 371 who work for Apple Rehabilitation in Watertown, Conn., ratified a new contract on Jan. 14 that strengthens wages and benefits. These members have been on the front lines of the pandemic caring for the elderly under difficult circumstances and are employed as certified nursing assistants, and in the maintenance, laundry, dietary, and housekeeping divisions.
The three-year contract includes historic wage increases of up to $8.00 per hour over the next 2.5 years and full union family health insurance for only $8.75 per week. The contract also doubles shift and weekend differentials; institutes a new preceptor pay system where members receive an extra $5.00 an hour to train new employees; increases the call-in bonus to $5.00 per hour; and institutes a new system to sign up for shifts where workers also get an additional $5.00 per hour. These benefits, combined with the historic wage increases, were all designed bring in new workers and help keep the facility fully staffed during an unprecedented staffing crisis.
“With wage increases of up to $8.00 per hour over the life of this agreement, we are happy that Apple Rehabilitation finally saw the value of the work that our members provide each day,” said UFCW Local 371 President Ronald Petronella. “Throughout the past two years, our members have been on the front lines of this COVID crisis, and now, when things should be returning to normal, they are more short staffed than ever. This contract takes the first step towards honoring their sacrifices.”