Millicent Faulknor, a veteran CNA at Sarah Neuman nursing home in Mamaroneck, loves her job and is proud of the care that she provides. “If my mom and dad were sick and needed to live in a home, I’d want them to be cared for at Sarah Neuman,” she says.
“We have achieved so much at Sarah Neuman, and that’s why I’m willing to strike -- to preserve those gains,” she says, referring to the contract reopener with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Nursing Homes and her fear of givebacks.
Faulknor is no stranger to activism. As a young woman in her native Jamaica, she worked in election campaigns for the late Michael Manley, the nation’s former prime minister. “My family always supported Jamaica’s People’s National Party,” Faulknor declares proudly.
And she has much to be proud of. She has put all five of her children through college. And she has used the same determination and skill as a Union delegate. “I’m a good listener and I make sure I have all the facts before I act,” she says. “I am my co-workers at Sarah Neuman have the respect of management and patients. If there are any issues at the home, all I have to do is knock on the door of nursing director.”
Sarah Neuman also has made great headway instituting the Green House Project, a new model of care. The model employs small work teams responsible for a variety of tasks for about a dozen clients including direct care, daily meal preparation, light housekeeping and communications with the clinical team, families and the community. Workers and management say that this results in a stronger bond formed between staff and the elders.
“We don’t want to lose all this,” Faulknor says. “My concern is not about wages, but about our benefits. In today’s environment, we can’t go back. We at Sarah Neuman are good workers and team players, but we will do what we need to to keep what we have and deserve.”