Our Alaskan Elders Deserve the Best Affordable Quality Care Available, Let’s Honor Them TogetherBy Jordan Adams
June 11, 2019
That’s because the working people of Local 71 care about the quality of the services they provide and subscribe to the EDEN Home philosophy of care, which is committed to “eliminating loneliness, uselessness, and boredom; and valuing community, empowerment, passion and integrity,” which enhances the overall health and wellbeing of Alaska’s Pioneer Home Residents according to the medical community. The respect and compassion our Local 71 members bring to these great Alaskans is unsurpassed and is widely recognized by our Pioneer Home residents, their families, Advisory Committees, Foundation Boards, vendors, and communities at large. Our members average over 10 years serving our elders, and many have served in their positions for over 20 years. Outsourcing their jobs would punish these public servants for their perfect record. That would be a mistake.
A recent low-bid proposal to provide these services doesn’t show the whole picture. By failing to account for the actual costs of outsourcing, the State simply hasn’t done its homework. The current state employees are predictable, and all costs are shown up front. The new proposal removes transparency. Change orders, which are expected, may surpass current costs the way the deal has been written, and they likely will. High turnover in the outsourced jobs is expected to raise costs even further. Employee turnover for the proposed contractor has been more than double that of current Pioneer home employees. Employee Benefit News (EBN) reports that it costs employers 33% of a worker's annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves. That’s for just one employee. The math on a workforce with high turnover, such as the proposing company has already demonstrated, is significantly higher. That means unnecessary increased costs to the state at the expense of our elders, who deserve better. The new proposal would also open the door for worker strikes, job walk-offs and costly grievance options; all of which are disallowed through the current agreement. Associated items still unaccounted for include:
The merits of the State’s outsourcing proposal must be fully evaluated prior to award. That means looking beyond a simple dollar number on a proposal. This decision was made without a thorough evaluation of resident service and the hidden costs of outsourcing. The State should do its homework before outsourcing our elders’ care. Our elders deserve better. We should not turn our elders into a profit center.
Help protect these great Alaskan Pioneers by showing your support of current quality services opposition to seemingly low bid contracting of Hospitality Services in our Pioneer Homes today!
We owe at least this much to those who helped shape our great state, and I would welcome that dialogue with our state administrators.
About: Jordan Adams is the Business Manager for Alaska Public Employees Local 71 representing members employed in Labor, Trades, and Crafts with the State of Alaska.
Received June 10, 2019 - Published June 11, 2019
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