PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Union workers hit the picket lines last week at nursing homes in Dauphin, Cumberland, and Lancaster counties, as well as other homes around the state, demanding better wages and working conditions. For the first time since the strike, abc27 is hearing from the homes themselves.
Management for The Gardens at Blue Ridge, The Gardens at West Shore, and Rose City Nursing and Rehabilitation all say things are running smoothly, that all residents are getting the care they need, and that staff — including some union members who chose not to strike — are helping to keep operations on track.
The nursing home managers say the strikes began after eleven bargaining sessions, saying the union SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania “took, what we consider, unnecessary action” in initiating the strike.
In a release, Jennifer Howell, director of nursing at The Gardens at Blue Ridge, said, “Since last Friday, our facility department heads, staff who have decided not to strike, and agency staff have shown a commitment to our residents that has been very humbling as everyone has gone above and beyond. The residents have had wonderful care and have enjoyed seeing us come together.”
The home managers say the facilities are “fully staffed, operational and providing optimum care for our residents.”
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The strike comes after Pennsylvania leaders approved $600 million for caregiving in nursing homes, 70% of which was to be spent on staffing and bedside care. With that, workers want better pay, health care benefits, and staffing conditions.
Matthew Yarnell, president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, previously said, “Our goal has always been — and continues to be — to get a fair contract that invests in this entire workforce and will meaningfully address the staffing crisis, but the offers on the table still fall short.”
Workers at four more nursing homes, including ones in Gettysburg and Camp Hill, are planning to join the strike on Friday.