Taken from The New Jersey Herald, July 8, 2016
LAFAYETTE — The employees of Sunrise House — a substance abuse treatment center affiliated with the national for-profit chain, American Addiction Centers — have voted nearly 5 to 1 to join a labor union.
The results of the June 29 vote, which have since been certified by the National Labor Relations Board, will give the approximately 125 nurses, clinical staff and workers at the Lafayette facility the right to bargain collectively over pay and working conditions under the umbrella of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees labor union.
The HPAE — an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, which itself is affiliated with the AFL-CIO — said in a prepared statement announcing the results that Sunrise House workers “are now looking forward to winning a contract that enables them to improve patient care and respects workers’ rights at the facility.”
“This vote to join HPAE will give workers on the front of line of drug and alcohol addiction a voice they need to make positive changes for themselves and their (patients) … Workers deserve this opportunity to improve the conditions they work under as they increase the possibility for a better life for their clients,” said HPAE President Ann Twomey.
Sunrise House employees filed for the right to organize a union election on June 9. The stated reasons for doing so centered on allegedly insufficient staffing levels and an alleged failure to provide workers the necessary training and clinical support.
The HPAE further indicated that the employees’ concerns were reflected in seven alleged deficiencies found at Sunrise House in March by the state Department of Human Services.