Dozens of nursing home workers – from nurses to CNAs and Housekeepers – who work for Genesis HealthCare in Greenville held a spirited picket line in the rain on Wednesday, December 7th to protest Genesis’s attempt to force them to accept a health care plan that exposes them to unlimited costs for major medical expenses and could increase their out-of-pocket costs by thousands of dollars.
“I have a son with asthsma and respiratory problems, and he needs frequent visits to the doctor to make sure he is okay,” said Solomon Youssouf, a CNA who has worked at the 131-bed nursing facility for five years. “If something serious were to happen, under Genesis’s proposal, we’d be paying 30% of all major medical expenses. So I could end up on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars – and we don’t make that kind of money. This could bankrupt my family.”
Several other workers spoke about the challenges they would face if the company imposed its health care plan, and criticized the corporate greed of Genesis’s owners – who currently own or operate 216 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in 13 different states. Genesis is a for-profit entity, structured through a complicated web of limited liability and holding corporations that are all registered in Delaware.
“Genesis is owned by private investors whose goal is to make a profit,” said Patrick J. Quinn, Executive Vice-President of SEIU District 1199NE. “They are the 1%, and we are the 99%. We’re not going to let them sacrifice our families’ health or stability in the never-ending pursuit of higher profits.”
Spirits on the picket line were high, despite the poor weather – and the workers are discussing their next steps to ensure that Genesis listens to them. They are joined in this fight by other Genesis employees who work at a 154-bed facility in Pawtucket and are also members of 1199.