The Knowles Home is an adult day services and assisted living facility that cares for elderly residents in Nashville who cannot afford to live anywhere else. It used to be under the authority of Metro Social Services and was transferred to the Nashville Hospital Authority in 2005. As the Hospital Authority struggles to fund General Hospital, Knowles continues to be at risk for closing as well since it often operates at a loss because of its indigent clients.
That’s why at the Oct. 25 meeting of the Hospital Authority Board, the main agenda item was a proposal to close down Knowles Home, which would have put the future of its clients and its employees in jeopardy.
But when SEIU members, clients, and their families organized and spoke out, the Hospital Board voted unanimously to keep Knowles Home open. This was possible because of the activism and support from SEIU members, Knowles residents and their families, as well as other community advocates. “When they made the announcement that Knowles Home was off the chopping block, the crowd broke into cheers and applause,” says Trista Boseman, the SEIU organizer for the Hospital Authority. “It’s times like this we should be glad we have a Union so that we were able to organize and protect our jobs,”, says Joseph Johnson, a Knowles Home custodian. “Through the Union, we were able to make sure that residents wouldn’t have been out on the streets if this would have gone through,” says Mike Peck, a social worker at Knowles.