National and Local Leaders Call for an end to the Lockout at NJ Addiction Treatment Center

As addiction treatment workers continue to be locked out by one of the nation’s largest for-profit addiction treatment corporations, American Addiction Centers (AAC), Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Phil Murphy, Candidate for NJ Governor held a press conference to denounce the lock out at Sunrise House. The 120 workers represented by HPAE, NJ’s largest healthcare union and an affiliate union of the AFT, were illegally locked out by AAC on the evening of May 23.

“Workers on the frontlines of the opioid addiction crisis must be allowed to go back to caring and treating patients at Sunrise House. This national for-profit chain, AAC, has put profits before patient safety and treatment. Despite the lockout, we will continue to bargain for a contract that protects patients and workers,” said Ann Twomey, HPAE President.

“The injustice being done to HPAE’s members at Sunrise House by American Addiction Centers is outrageous,” said Phil Murphy. “I am proud to join HPAE and AFT in support of Sunrise House’s workers and patients. This lockout must end, and it must end now so that Sunrise House can once again be a place where those seeking treatment can find compassion in reclaiming their lives,” added Murphy.

“Michael Cartwright, the CEO of AAC, has a choice, to treat workers and patients with respect and dignity or continue this lockout. If he allows this to continue the light will be shown on AAC and how poorly they allow workers to be treated and the unsafe conditions patients are exposed to while receiving treatment. Cartwright is acting like a giant bully that doesn’t care about its patients or workers,” said Randi Weingarten.

“AAC should settle this contract quickly so that the nurses, drug counselors, housekeeping workers, secretaries and others can get back to work, and patients can be returned to the facility where they belong,” added Weingarten.

“I have worked at Sunrise House for 20 years providing care to help our patients on the road to recovery. Last week, administration told patients that they were being transferred to another treatment facility, disrupting their treatment and sending them across the country. That disruption in treatment can have a devastating impact on patient care, and potentially some patients could relapse,” said Linda Fescine, Clinical Counselor at Sunrise House.

Bargaining resumed between the union and AAC administrators all day Friday, May 26, but a settlement was not achieved. Both parties will return to the bargaining table on Wednesday, May 31.

For more information, contact Bridget Devane @ (732) 996-5493