“Nursing home caregivers have sacrificed everything during the coronavirus pandemic, including paying with their own lives and the lives of their relatives. Surviving union caregivers are not surprised to see that the number of dead nursing home workers from COVID-related complications is much higher than previously reported by the Department of Public Health. We expect further upward revisions on the official number of worker fatalities in the coming months.
Let’s be clear: this crisis is not over yet. Long-term care workers are still suffering in nursing homes, group homes and home care. This industry has been in crisis for a very long time, relying on poverty wages to provide care for our most vulnerable populations, relying on an undervalued workforce that is majority Black, Latina, and white working women. They had to wear trash bags for protection when personal protective equipment was denied to frontline staff. The pandemic only brought to light what every long-term care worker knew long ago: the system is broken.
The State of Connecticut needs to take a much more aggressive stance to be able to address the current staffing crisis in nursing homes and throughout the long-term care industry. The Department of Public Health must make it a priority to make sure these are good jobs, well-paid jobs with decent benefits, and that nursing home administrators are held accountable for unruly operations that place workers and residents in danger.”
Updated data available here:
Media Contact: Pedro Zayas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-830-2478
District 1199, SEIU, New England Health Care Employees Union