PENNSYLVANIA, (WHTM) — Nursing home workers across Pennsylvania were set to strike Tuesday, but instead struck a deal on new contracts. Workers are demanding employers improve staffing by ending what they call low wages for frontline essential caregivers. Over the next week, there will be meetings to discuss the details followed by a vote to ratify the agreements.
More than 50 nursing homes across Pennsylvania reached tentative contract agreements with their employers that will last until May 31, 2022. Workers at 21 of them had planned to strike Tuesday. All of the contracts had expired June 30, according to a representative from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union representing all 53 of the nursing homes. She said, the agreements are for “pretty historic raises,” but couldn’t say how much, adding that most workers hadn’t seen significant wage increases in years. The union representative said this will hopefully help with staffing levels, which are low because so many workers left during the pandemic.
The agreements should be finalized over the next few weeks. One of the employers, Guardian Healthcare, provided a statement saying in part, “We are pleased that our negotiations with the SEIU have resulted in the cancellation of impending strike activity. We will continue to provide a caring and supportive working environment for all our caregivers who serve our residents and patients.”
We reached out to several of the nursing homes and their employers but either did not hear back about an on-camera interview or were denied.