PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Workers at Comprehensive-, Priority-, and Shenandoah Heights Healthcare, LLC-owned nursing homes have been working hard for months to negotiate and transform the nursing home industry.
According to a release from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the workers and nursing home owners were able to agree on union contracts that invest in staffing and resident care.
“After seven days on the picket line, we’re eager to get back to our residents and the work we love. It was an incredibly difficult decision to strike, but we hung together because we deserve a contract that protects our union, strengthens our workforce and puts resident care first,” said Comprehensive bargaining committee member Shannon McBride, a certified nursing assistant at The Grove at Irwin, owned by Comprehensive Healthcare.
All three of the contracts for Comprehensive-, Priority-, and Shenandoah-owned homes include the following:
- Pay raises averaging 24%, focusing on the longevity and experience of workers, as well as the departments that they work in
- Adjustments to health insurance that will make costs more affordable for caregivers, as well as ensure more in-network providers
- Commitment to adhere to and improve state staffing regulations
- Union members will have the right to maintain their contracts with the new employers for a period of time until a new agreement is reached, if the nursing home is sold
“I experienced firsthand what it’s like when your facility gets sold to a new company; your benefits get taken away, your pay gets reduced, people end up quitting for better opportunities, and the talent that stays becomes overworked,” said Raheem Armitage, a certified nursing assistant at Priority-owned The Gardens at Wyoming Valley. “You worry whether you’ll have a job tomorrow and how you’ll take care of your family. So having successorship language means we can keep what we fought for — we won’t have to start from zero again.”
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Roughly 700 workers were part of the unfair labor practice strikes that began on Labor Day weekend. This included workers such as CNAs, dietary workers, housekeepers, activities workers, aides, and other essential positions.
These workers demanded corporate accountability for the $600 million in public funds from the state budget that was intended to rebuild the workforce and bring caregivers back to the bedside.