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Union vote may hold key to Sunnyview’s future

October 10, 2013 News Extra

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A vote on Tuesday by union workers at the Butler County-owned Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center may decide its fate.

The vote, which will be at Sunnyview in Butler Township, is to decide whether to reopen the four-year contract with SEIU Healthcare that ends Dec. 31, 2014, for the purpose of meeting concessions sought by the county.

County officials maintain the contract must be reopened to save money since Sunnyview is in the red.

The nursing home is budgeted to lose $1.5 million this year. However, $450,000 of that is for a balloon payment on a 30-year bond, which funded renovations in the 1980s.

Sunnyview lost more than $800,000 in 2012.

Although county officials won’t confirm the concessions being sought, Commissioner Jim Eckstein previously said Sunnyview workers are being asked to pay a much higher portion of their health care costs than the current 1.5 percent paycheck deduction.

Commissioners Bill McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton both deferred commenting on the potential impact on Sunnyview’s future until the votes are tabulated.

“It’s too soon to judge that,” Pinkerton said.

Eckstein said the county should keep Sunnyview if the vote supports concessions.

“It should stay open if they compromise,” he said.

Tamara Lefcowitz, SEIU Healthcare organizer, declined to comment on the pending vote.

During the commissioners meeting Wednesday, Sunnyview worker Terry Penrod of Butler Township said Sunnyview is not too expensive for the county to run.

Sunnyview resident Kathryn Kirkwood also said the nursing home should be kept county-owned.

“No one wants to see it sold,” she said. “We need stability in our golden years.”

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