HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of striking nurses paused picketing on Friday as their union reached a tentative contract agreement with 13 of 14 nursing homes across Pennsylvania.
After reaching an agreement with Comprehensive Healthcare on Thursday, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania announced Friday that bargainers had come to terms with a second operator, Priority Healthcare.
Contract details were not released pending ratification votes.
A total of about 700 unionized workers at 14 nursing homes statewide went on strike Sept. 2 in a dispute over pay, benefits, and staffing levels.
Workers also demanded more transparency on how $600 million the state approved for caregiving in nursing homes will be spent. Seventy percent of that money is to be spent on staffing and bedside care.
“Part of that was intended to give them the capability to actually fairly compensate the folks who work there,” Governor Tom Wolf said.
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Striking workers at independently owned Shenandoah Heights nursing home in Schuylkill County have yet to settle their contract.
The union has staked a claim on hundreds of millions of dollars in new state and federal funding for nursing homes. A trade group representing for-profit nursing homes has noted that the newly increased Medicaid reimbursements do not kick in until January, and the other aid has not yet been distributed.
Nursing homes have long struggled with staff turnover, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Voting on contract agreements will continue through the weekend, and the union expects to release details of those agreements on Sept. 12. While voting continues, workers can go back to their jobs.