Fresno County Convalescent Home Strike

September 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Workers at a Fresno County Convalescent home are on strike because of the budget crisis.The first shift of union workers at Sunnyside Convalescent hospital showed up at five a.m. to protest what they call 'poor business practices.' They say they have not been paid their full paychecks in over a month.

Juanita Montoya, nursing home employee, says "We need to pay our bills, we need to pay our PG&E.... We need to pay our rent.. Car payments or whatever... And food and clothes for the kids!"

Brenda Nutt, nursing home employee, says "A couple of us had to go out and take out those loans ... Those paycheck loans."

The workers staging a one day strike are part of the United Health Care workers west local 250. They have been working without a contract for almost a year and claim their paychecks are being held up in an effort by management to strong arm them.

Sunnyside Convalescent Home administrator Michael Fellen says it has nothing to do with contract negotiations. He says as soon as he the state pays him he can pay employees. "Right now the state owes us over 632 thousand dollars that they haven't paid us... And we've exhausted our all lines of credit... I've exhausted all personal lines of credit.. I've borrowed from family, friends."

Nursing assistants from a local agency were called to fill in for union workers for the day and night shifts.

"And he says he doesn't have any money... Come on... If he can afford the security and the registry to come in," says Montoya.

Fellen says no one is being paid at the moment. He claims his vendors, including PG&E are working with him until state legislators come up with a budget which he's hoping will happen within the next 24 hours.

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