Harrisburg nursing home workers to strike for life-saving reform

Pennsylvania

Nursing Homes Continue To Fight Against the Coronavirus

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg caregivers from the Gardens at Blue Ridge will strike alongside nursing home workers from more than 20 different homes across the Commonwealth on Tuesday,  July 27.

According to the group, more than 1,500 Pennsylvania nursing home workers will strike against the ‘growing crisis’ in the state’s nursing homes.

“COVID ripped the band-aid off what we’ve been going through for the past 20 years,” said Shelly Lawrence, a Certified Nursing Assistant in western PA. “Staffing is terrible and wages are too low to bring in the staff our residents need.”

Those striking represent nurses, nurses aides and other caregiver positions who are negotiating separate union contracts, safe staffing, increased starting wages and affordable healthcare as key priorities.

“I hope this is a wake up call for the industry,” said Amanda Sanders, a dietary worker at Uniontown Health and Rehab. “Some of us have been here our whole lives, and we want to provide the best quality care possible. But we are so short staffed, and our residents suffer for it.”

Studies have shown that staffing shortages could lead to medication errors and new infections.

“When workers decide to go on strike, that’s a very clear indication of just how bad things are,” said Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “They have been demanding change for decades, and then watched as their residents, coworkers, and own families died of COVID. We need to reform our long term care system to one that focuses on people.”

The following nursing homes are expected to join the strike:

  • Riverside Rehab and Nursing Center, Taylor
  • Uniontown Health and Rehab, Uniontown
  • Beaver Elder Care, Aliquippa
  • Saunders House, Wynnewood
  • Powerback, Philadelphia
  • Gardens at Blue Ridge, Harrisburg

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