PENNSYLVANIA, (WHTM) — Workers in 12 nursing homes across Pennsylvania, including two in the Midstate, have voted to authorize strikes. Rose City Health and Rehab in Lancaster and Gardens at Blue Ridge in Harrisburg are two of the facilities that voted to authorize a 10-day strike notice to their negotiation committees. According to a press release from SEIU Healthcare PA the strikes are “to demand life-saving changes needed for our seniors and other nursing home residents.”
“This was a hard decision because nobody ever wants to go on strike. Yet every day we see our residents suffering. We’ve seen staffing dwindle down to less and less to the point we aren’t able to give residents proper baths every day, or change them out of soiled brief in a timely manner,” an LPN at Blue Ridge in Harrisburg, Liz Empson said.”We’ve sounded the alarm with employers. We’ve spoken out publicly. We’ve met with legislators. We’ve testified. Still, change isn’t coming. This is our last resort to get the change our residents need.”
Nearly 800 workers including nurses, aides, and other healthcare positions across 12 nursing homes are in the process of negotiating union contracts along with other nursing home workers across the state.
“We need higher wages so we can get more permanent staff to take care of our residents. Residents need to know their caregivers and trust us. We just need more help so we can do what’s best for our residents. How can you get permanent staff if they can make more money down the street at a convenience store,” a certified nursing student at Rose City in Lancaster, Shelley Robinson, said.
The press release states that “Almost all [workers] have identified safe staffing and living wages, and affordable high-quality healthcare as key priorities that need to be addressed if this care crisis is going to be resolved.”