Bishop Noa Home employees hold informational picket for 'fair contract'

Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 2:30 PM EDT
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Employees from Bishop Noa Home, an assisted care facility in Escanaba, were picketing Thursday. They did so to gain support in their fight for a contract that they feel is fair.

Bishop Noa employees say that administrators at the home do not value their work.

"The folks who work here at Bishop Noa Home, they give a portion of their life to their residents, they care about their residents,” said Chris Haddock, a representative from United Steelworkers International. “They want their residents here to have the best possible care, and currently they're getting that."

Two years ago, employees at the facility voted to join the United Steelworkers Union. Since then they have been negotiating a contract with administration.

"These workers are looking for a voice at the table, they're concerned about employee turnover and they just want a fair shake," said Haddock.

In addition to a voice, employees say that they want a sustainable wage, fair treatment, and the benefits they feel they have earned.

"They work long hard hours, this is one of the toughest jobs when you're a healthcare worker and the company you work for forces you to work 12 hours shifts, it's hard enough to work 8 hour shifts, and you have no input in it," said Kevin Lyle, husband of a Bishop Noa Home employee.

Bishop Noa Employees were joined in the picketing by not only fellow union members, but members of the public as well.

"I hope that those at the table can see that the community is involved and that we're bringing the message to the community,” said Bryon Branstrom, president of USW Local 21. “After all, it's the community that supports these facilities."

Bishop Noa administration says that they believe not all of the staff supports the union, and that they are not changing their bargaining position. They claim they will continue working towards a fair agreement with a competitive wage and good benefits.

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