Demonstrations at facilities to take place today in upstate New York

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Informational pickets are scheduled today by a union local at nursing homes in upstate New York to protest state funding practices that allegedly discriminate against the facilities.

"Most people are not aware of how badly the upstate nursing home industry is under-funded, to the point where lives are at risk," said Mike Rifkin, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union. He added that administrators are joining with workers in protest.

While the state budget for this year and 2006 contained an $80 million increase in assistance for upstate nursing homes, the state legislature and Gov. George Pataki have not yet agreed on language on how the funding should be appropriated.

Last week, a federal judge in New York struck down a 2002 state law that prohibited the use of federal funding by nursing homes and hospitals to convince their workers to vote against unionizing efforts.