Nursing home care providers with 1199NE SEIU announced the delivery of Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike notices at 5 Hartford-area nursing home facilities Tuesday. After an overwhelming vote in favor of the work stoppage, the healthcare providers plan to go on a ULP strike April 22 at 6:00 am. With the ULP strike vote announcement, workers discussed how they came together and voted to go on a ULP strike amid poor conditions and unfair labor practices across the facilities.
“We’ve been told for two years that we’re essential, yet I still can’t pay my bills or afford healthcare with the low wages I’m being paid,” said Nadine Lawrence, a CNA at Bloomfield Health Care Center. “On top of that, most of the Hartford nursing home providers like me are Black and brown, and we continue to show up to care for our residents even amid racial profiling and discrimination by management. I’m at my breaking point. It’s time for Bloomfield to step up to the plate and meet the minimum standard that every care provider deserves: livable wages, affordable healthcare, a pension they can rely on, overtime and measures to address racial injustice.”
The facilities include three owned by National Health Care Associates—Bloomfield Health Care Center, Hebrew Center for Health & Rehabilitation, Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center—and two others, Avery Heights Senior Living and Windsor Health and Rehabilitation Center. More than 400 nursing home workers are set to go on a ULP strike across the five homes.
“I have cared for residents at Windsor Rehabilitation for 21 years yet I don’t even make $20.00 an hour,” said Yvonne Foster, a CNA at Windsor Rehabilitation. “I don’t have a retirement account or health insurance that I can afford, and there is no room for growth at my facility. I stand together with my co-workers to strike.”
People providing care in these nursing homes have a strong history of taking action to demand better. Nursing home care providers at Avery Heights Senior Living sustained a two and a half year strike in the early 2000s, which is believed to be the longest nursing home worker strike in U.S. history. And recently, workers at all three homes owned by National Health Care Associates staged a bold action in March to demand liveable wages and affordable benefits that allow them to support their families.
In 2021, nursing home workers at 53 nursing homes across Connecticut staged historic strike campaigns 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 measures to address racial discrimination on the job and in their communities. But many others who provide care in nursing homes—including the workers at the five Hartford-area facilities named in the ULP strike notices—have yet to achieve the same gains. As the workers at these five facilities are entering the third year as essential workers during the pandemic, they are demanding a $20 per hour minimum wage for CNA’s, fair pension plans, affordable healthcare, measures to address the discrimination, and resolution to their employers’ illegal activities.
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