Betsy Donovan: Eskaton Village focused on residents, and those who care for them |

Betsy Donovan: Eskaton Village focused on residents, and those who care for them

On Sept. 30, The Union published an opinion piece about union activity at Eskaton Village Grass Valley by Mr. Larry King, which included several glaring misstatements and omissions.

Eskaton Village Grass Valley would like to set the record straight.

First, local opposition to the union by Grass Valley workers is the subject of an upcoming vote of the workers themselves. A significant percentage of workers included in the bargaining unit at Eskaton Village Grass Valley organized themselves and filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to conduct a new election to challenge the union’s standing to represent the Grass Valley workers.

In other words, the workers themselves who petitioned are trying to get the union out of the facility. The balloting has already begun. Eskaton Village Grass Valley will respect the vote of the workers and will follow the law if the union remains in place.

Why would Mr. King feel compelled to attempt to mislead our Grass Valley community?

Second, Eskaton Village Grass Valley gives raises based on merit and the success of the facility among other factors. Although not required to do so, Eskaton Village Grass Valley has continued to give raises while it bargains with the union. It gave raises before the union showed up, continues to do so and hopes to continue to give raises to deserving workers.

Third, as with all economics of operations at Eskaton Village Grass Valley, management carefully watches expenses and tries to save a little money from operations every year. As the costs of doing business rise, it adds pressure on Eskaton Village Grass Valley to raise the prices for goods and services at Eskaton Village Grass Valley. The money it takes to run the facility is supposed to come from the periodic charges that are absorbed by the residents. The residents are aged and they do not have infinite money with which to pay steep increases in occupancy costs. Hence, we consider the impact on residents before we give any raises.

Fourth, like so much of the communication from union supporters, Mr. King’s piece paints a rosy picture of the union’s influence. The items referenced by Mr. King are inaccurate. Mr. King writes that because some workers voted last year for the union at Eskaton Village Grass Valley miraculously, 1,800 employees got a 4 percent raise. The facility in Grass Valley is the only community that currently has a union. Raises at communities other than Eskaton Village Grass Valley obviously were motivated by something other than the union since the union is not in those other locations.

Simply put, without a union the management gave raises to hundreds of workers in their non-union facilities. Employees at other communities were not given across-the-board 4 percent raises. Rather, depending upon their quality of work and similar factors some got less and some got more than 4 percent raises. Why would Mr. King feel compelled to attempt to mislead our Grass Valley community?

Fifth, despite his efforts and those of the union, the federal government ruled that Mr. King was not eligible to be a member of this union at Eskaton Village Grass Valley. Was the ruling of the National Labor Relations Board to keep him out of this union the motivation to lash out at the organization that writes his paychecks?

Finally, the persons who manage Eskaton Village Grass Valley are focused both on our residents and those who take care of our residents.

Betsy Donovan is senior vice president, chief operating officer at Eskaton Village.

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