Nursing home lawsuit typical for a union

Thursday, March 28, 2013
Text Size: A | A

One of the key functions of a union leader is to fight for members’ jobs and wages, so we suppose it’s appropriate that the union representing workers at Saratoga County’s Maplewood Manor nursing home has decided to sue over plans to sell the facility to a private operator. For taxpayers’ sake, though, we hope the effort fails — and soon.

In its suit, the Civil Service Employees Association has cited what seems like a petty technical issue involving the county’s effort to unload the money-losing nursing home: its creation of a local development corporation to assume ownership of the home before it is put on the market.

CSEA attorneys have argued that LDCs’ traditional function is to promote local economic development, not sell real estate. And while that may be true, it also seems inarguable that promoting economic development is easier when you have low property taxes. The nursing home has been causing taxes to rise in recent years, and if the sale doesn’t go through, officials forecast a 20 percent tax increase next year! Not too good for economic development.

As for the union’s argument that the nursing home is needed, and thus shouldn’t be sold: Maybe that would be true if the facility were going to be closed, but if the sale agreement stipulates that the new owner must run it as a nursing home, what’s the problem?

The union’s answer, of course, is that the new owner may not be obligated to keep the facility’s current employees, and certainly won’t be obligated to pay them the wages they’ve grown accustomed to — the very ones that have been helping create the facility’s financial woes. But it will never admit as much. Like the state teacher’s union that’s suing over the 2 percent tax cap (which has forced school districts to cut positions and limit wage and benefit hikes), CSEA wants everyone to think it’s looking out for the public’s interests.

The public’s real interest is in a more efficient nursing home operation — the kind an experienced, private operator can provide just as well as the county can. It’s bad enough the union wants to get in the way of that, but even worse that it’s going to saddle taxpayers with the legal bills.

Share story: print print email email facebook facebook reddit reddit


March 28, 2013
6:25 a.m.
muggy says...

Wow. This Gazette editorial has whiffs of conservatism in it. I wonder if the author will pen something relating to the taxpayer sink hole currently under construction in Schenectady County?

March 28, 2013
7:03 a.m.
comanche says...

And yet another shot over the bow of unions for the Gazettes unabashed bias against anything union. Had they done their homework, and why let facts get in the way of good old union bashing, they would have found that the "root cause" of nursing home funding problems comes from inadequate reimbursement rates, not the employees.

Maybe the Gazette would prefer to send all old people off into the woods to die, thus saving them their obvious dismay of showing any respect for our seniors who need help.

March 28, 2013
7:50 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Public employee unions? You complain about taxes and poor education? NYS school budget is 70% teacher salary, retirement and healthcare 70%. That leaves 30% for the kids and the schools, something is very wrong here.

Log-in to post a comment.

columnists & blogs

Log into

Forgot Password?