1199NE SEIU members who work at three nursing homes across the Hartford area will hold an action Tuesday, to raise awareness of their demands for wage increases, affordable health care, fair retirement plans, and enforceable policies to address racial discrimination on the job and in the communities where they work. People who care for residents are taking action at Bloomfield Health Care Center, Hebrew Center for Health & Rehabilitation, and Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center—all owned by National Health Care Associations (NHCA).
“A large majority of us are black, brown and low wage white workers who have dedicated years of our lives, in some cases 20 years or more, to the residents of our facility,” said Dana Mclean, a CNA at Bloomfield Health Care Center with 33 years of nursing home service. “However during those years, the ownership—Mr. Ostreicher and others—has continued to increase their wealth off of our work and dedication to our residents. Enough is enough, I have witnessed far too many of my coworkers retire with only their last paycheck and not even a thank you. We deserve pensions so we can retire with dignity.”
Nursing home workers at 53 nursing homes across Connecticut staged historic strike campaigns last year to highlight the need to improve long-term care for patients and providers alike. Their bold action paid off, and these workers are now on a pathway to $20 per hour minimum wage for CNAs, increases in retirement and pension contributions, affordable healthcare, and protection from racial discrimination.
But many others who provide care in nursing homes—including the workers taking action Tuesday at NHCA-owned facilities—have yet to achieve the same gains. They are entering the third year as essential workers during the pandemic while struggling to provide for themselves and their families on shamefully low wages and little benefits.
“This is a long time coming,” said Refila Walters, CNA at Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center who has 39 years of experience. “We must stand United. We deserve a contract with livable wages, healthcare and retirement. Enough is enough. We are sticking with our Union!”