Commissioners applaud unions for help in saving Berks Heim


Berks Heim nursing home employees represented by United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776 approved a new five-year contract agreement Tuesday.

The contract covers about 300 union members working at Berks Heim in Bern Township.

The 5-year contract agreement includes a 3-percent yearly wage increase over the previous contract's 2.5-percent year-over-year wage increase, addresses employees' healthcare, and aims to secure Berks Heim employees' jobs.

The Berks County commissioners still need to ratify the agreement.

"I am proud of the hard work and commitment of our bargaining committee members at Berks Heim. Through months of negotiations, our committee remained steadfast and ensured all key issues were addressed," said Wendell Young IV, UFCW Local 1776 president.

The UFCW vote comes less than two weeks after the Service Employees International Union approved a new contract with the county.

Both agreements will keep Berks Heim under county ownership for at least the next five years.

The commissioners had been exploring the option of selling the facility.

"Working on this contract has helped to develop a better relationship with Berks Heim county officials and I would like to thank the County Commissioners, particularly Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt and Commissioner Christian Leinbach for their engagement with our membership, as well as SEIU Healthcare - their membership, the bargaining committee and SEIU Healthcare PA President Matt Yarnell. I am grateful for both Senator Judy Schwank and Governor Tom Wolf, who showed crucial, steadfast support of our members who work at Berks Heim. This contract allows our members to continue to provide exemplary care to Berks County residents and keeps the nursing home in County hands where it belongs."