Sunrise House workers launch drive to unionize
Taken from The New Jersey Herald
LAFAYETTE — Sunrise House — a 110-bed, for-profit substance abuse treatment center — could see its approximately 125 workers vote to form a union in the next few weeks as the result of a petition filed on their behalf last week with the National Labor Relations Board.
The election will give the center’s caregivers and counselors a vote on whether to join the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, a union of 12,000 health care workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
“Workers at Sunrise are advocates for their clients, caring for them and helping them recover from their addiction,” HPAE President Ann Twomey said in a prepared statement. “It is crucial workers’ voices are heard and resources are provided to make sure safe, quality treatment is the first priority, not the profits of the for-profit company and its shareholders’ interests.”
The announcement by the union on Thursday came as it also filed a complaint with the NLRB accusing Sunrise House executives of trying to coerce and intimidate workers who support the unionization effort.
Formerly run as a non-profit facility, Sunrise House was purchased last year for $6.6 million by American Addiction Centers, a publicly traded, for-profit chain of drug and alcohol treatment centers throughout the country based in Brentwood, Tenn.
Michael Cartwright, chairman and CEO of American Addiction Centers, said Thursday that he first learned about the unionization effort last week and strongly denied his company was trying to intimidate any of its workers into not going forth with the effort.