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Sunnyview union offers 2nd chance to county

November 13, 2013 News Extra

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BUTLER TWP — The union representing roughly 200 workers at the Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center continues to fight the facility's pending sale by Butler County.

SEIU Healthcare conducted a union vote Tuesday in which a majority approved the counterproposal initially submitted to the county three weeks ago for consideration.

However, county officials maintain the only way to avoid a sale, which they say is needed due to Sunnyview's annual deficit, was for the union to accept a concessions offer rejected by its members Oct. 15.

Tamara Lefcowitz, administrative organizer for SEIU Healthcare, said the union counteroffer addresses the nursing home's financial problems.

“All they have to do is sign on the dotted line and they have more than $1 million,” Lefcowitz said.

According to Lefcowitz, most of those savings would occur in 2014.

The county projects Sunnyview will have a more than $1 million deficit for 2014, but $205,000 of that total is listed under building depreciation.

Consequently, the county would subsidize $838,452 of Sunnyview's total $20 million budget.

Among the union's approved concessions under a re-opened contract were taking wage freeze in 2014 and 2 percent pay hike in 2015.

However, county commissioner Bill McCarrier, board chairman, said it's too late to reverse course.

“We've moved past that,” McCarrier said.

The commissioners voted 2 to 1 last week to issue a request for proposals from prospective buyers, which must bid at least $13.5 million by Dec. 13.

Commissioner Dale Pinkerton, who sided with McCarrier in last week's vote, agreed there's no going back.

“We're far enough down the path,” Pinkerton said. “Personally, I'm not changing.”

Commissioner Jim Eckstein, the sole board member opposing a Sunnyview sale, said his colleagues should accept the union counteroffer.

The seven-acre parcel up for sale does not include other county buildings, including the 911 dispatch center and the one housing District Judge Kevin O'Donnell's office.

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