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Santa Cruz, Tuesday 3/22/05: In spite of a drenching mid-day downpour, thirty intrepid pickets rallied to support workers at the Sunshine Villa assisted living facility at 70 Front St., overlooking the Santa Cruz pier.
(L) Arcelia Montoya, SEIU organizing staff, translates for Yolanda Moya, activist Sunshine Villa worker recently fired for helping to organizes a 90% worker vote for representation by a labor union.

Santa Cruz, Tuesday 3/22/05: In spite of a drenching mid-day downpour, thirty intrepid pickets rallied to support workers at the Sunshine Villa assisted living facility at 70 Front St., overlooking the Santa Cruz pier.

In July 2004 90% of Sunshine Villa's fifty workers voted to form a union. The corporate owners, Regent Assisted Living (a.k.a., Renaissance Senior Living), filed numerous unsuccessful appeals.
In October 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certified Service Employees International (SEIU) Local 415 as the Union for these workers. Regent responded by hiring the notorious union-busting law firm Littler Mendlson. Activist workers have been fired and Regent continue to refuses negotiation.

Villa workers – patient care providers, medical technicians, kitchen staff, housekeeping -- receive less than a living wage and substandard benefits -- no retirement, huge medical insurance co-payments, radically reduced vacation/holiday leave and no job security. There is no grievance process and dismissal can be "at will" -- immediate with no reason.

Noting that Regent Assisted Living advertise that they provide clients "healthcare assistance," "life enrichment," and "elegant dining," Joe Keffer, SEIU Organizing Director commented that “Sunshine Villa makes their workers provide limo service and but they only pay them wrecking yard wages.?

Support the workers: 831/750-9730, Joe Keffer, SEIU 415 web site:
About Regency Assisted:

Pickets rally in rain support workers at the Sunshine Villa Assisted Living facility.

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This is a story for Workers Independent News from November 2004.

On Friday, November 6 in Santa Cruz, CA, 45 people turned out for a solidarity rally in support of embattled workers at Sunshine Villa, a retirement home owned and operated by Portland-based Regent Assisted Living. WIN Correspondent, Vinny Lombardo has more.

"Santa Cruz Is A Union Town!"

Thank you, Bob Fitch, for an excellent summary of the current situation of Sunshine Villa workers in Santa Cruz.

Workers that I talked with described an environment that is consistantly short staffed. On a recent shift, one worker was assigned to twelve Alzheimer's patients!

According to Arcelia Montoya of the local SEIU 415, workers have also been forced to speak only English at all times, even when patient safety may be compromised as a result. For example, when one worker was trying to clarify a medication order to another staffmember in Spanish for the sake of clarity, she was reprimanded and forced to sign a discipline notice. Clearly, this is a bigoted policy.

Despite the poor working conditions at Sunshine Villa, the workers expressed concern for the residents they assist. If the out-of-town owners of Sunshine Villa are smart, they'll get to the bargaining table soon. These workers are good at what they do and judging by their brave showing at Tuesday's rally amid blustery rains, they are united and resolute. Not only that, they are supported by a broad coaltion of community members, many of whom also attended the rally in support.


1. Workers stand in solidarity, braving the cold rain side-by-side.

2. Santa Cruz City Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice spends his lunch hour supporting Sunshine Villa workers.

3. Local SEIU 415 organizer Joe Keffer encourages the crowd, relying on his wit, since all of his handwriiten notes were lost to the heavy rain.

4. "Where's The Sunshine?" Indeed.


I was a nurse at Sunshine Villa and saw the over worked employees..the charge nurse Marvita has not one caring bone in her body for not only the staff, but the residents. Marvita fired me for taking a day off to go to the emergency room with a injured back..she was mad as she had to go out on the floor and WORK with the line staff and provide care to the residents. I saw and know how the staff was treated, I know how I was treated..I turned Sunshine Villa into the State for defencies, I called the head honchos that own and run Sunshine Villa and let me tell you, management could care a less about the employees, well the line staff anyway. I know for a fact the owner is paying for Marvita, the LVN's home in Santa Cruz and that she recieves very high pay for doing nothing!!! If the comapny can afford to pay for housing for the nurse, what about wages for staff????


I've seen Marvita in action too. She dresses to the nines, drives a purple jaguar, but understaffs the floor constantly, and very seldom pitches in and helps. She seems to vanish for several days at a time. Oh, maybe she'll say its a meeting or some conference - I don't know. Whatever her excuse is, it's horsepucky. You can go to meetings and conferences all day and look repectable, but still be a big do-nothing. She knows darn well whatever she's doing, it's an evasion of her primary duty, which is to take care of the residents.

She's got a lietenant Damien who doesn't have a good handle on his employeews.

I'd say all in all the higher-ups are all way overpaid, and could easly find ways to have better care given to the residents, but they don't; they'd rather just draw a paycheck and go through a revolving door of aide staff.

I know these things becauwse I am a freqent visitor of Sunshine Villa. Damien and Marvita don't know me, but I sure know what they are all about.

shape up you two. You aren't hiding behind any veneer of respectability as far as I can see. I heard you bragging about being under budget for staffing. Wow what an accomplishment. That means one more call bell went unanswered (which you most likely would blame the staff) but that you are probably up for a raise. Congratulations.


I am a family member of a resident at Sunshine Villa and from where I stand the "Anonymous Poster" is either a former disgruntled employee or someone from the union who is trying to stir the pot and needs to go back to school and learn to spell. I am more than a frequent visitor to the Villa and my mother was there long before Marvita or Damion got there, from my interactions with them they are more then on the ball I feel and so do several long standing residents families that Marvita helped to turn around the Health Services staff when she hired Damion or the Lieutenant as you called him has been very attentive to our family and from the conversations I have had with the employees they are all very happy with them. I asked about the so called understaffing that you mentioned, the removal of the agency was a decision made by the corporate staff. Maybe you should check your facts before you try and sully the reputation of people who work hard, it's easy to sit back and point fingers and critisize when you don't have to do someone else's job.

You can sit behind your vail of stupidity and illiteracy all day long you obviously do not seve a function at the Villa other than to sit in their lobby and drink their coffee. While free speech is a right I think instead of trying to break down a team of people it would better to build them up, and for your information you might be surprised on who they know and don't know. So take your own advise and shape up, and before you decide to show your ass again make sure what you are saying is factual and has some shred of truth to it or better yet why be the " Anonymous Poster" stand behind your words and let them know who you are.


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