CONTACT: Melissa Uribe, MelissaU@seiu2015.org, (213) 590-9091 (English/Spanish)
Today River Valley nursing home workers concluded first-ever strike urging employer to respect safe staffing standards, patient safety, and union rights
REDDING – Today, nursing home workers of SEIU 2015, the largest long term care local in the country representing over 385,000 home care and nursing home workers in California, ended their two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike at River Valley Nursing Home Facility (River Valley) in Redding, California.
River Valley, also known as Windsor Redding Care Center, has experienced a dramatic shift in quality of care and mismanagement ever since multi-billionaire Shlomo Rechnitz started running the facility. SEIU 2015 has been forced to file over a dozen legal charges against the employer because of their unlawful conduct, worker intimidation, and refusal to bargain in good faith as the workers attempt to better their working conditions and quality of care their patients expect from them.
Last year SEIU 2015 sponsored legislation which aimed to improve patient care and staffing standards in nursing homes. The new law requires all Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) in California to staff at a level of 3.5 direct care hours per patient day and workers at River Valley say they want the owner to abide by the rules.
“Enough is enough,” said Devin Wood, Certified Nursing Assistant at River Valley. “Patients over profits, period. As a nursing home worker it is my responsibility to provide quality care to my patients but the management here makes it impossible to do my job. I’m sick and tired of having to run around from patient to patient feeling unappreciated by my boss. They need to meet with us at the table so we can better the working conditions at River Valley.”
Despite soaring profit margins, the current owner of River Valley refuses to invest in its facility and address increasing staff turnover rates.
Between 2015-2016 staff turnover has jumped sharply from 31% to 61% as nursing home workers of River Valley quit due to bad working conditions that the employer refuses to fix. Conditions which include short-staffing their facility so that caregivers are forced to tend to up to 15 or more patients per shift and continuously being called upon to work double shifts.
Since the current owner began running the facility, the profit margin has soared to nearly three times the state average. However, workers say that money isn’t being spent on bettering the facility. The ratio of salaries-to-net-operating-revenue dropped from 54.25% to 46%. While Rechnitz makes more profit, the percentage of his expenditures that goes toward salaries drops.
“While River Valley continues to reap the profits of short-changing workers and patients, workers and patients are left in the dust,” said Kim Evon, Executive Vice President of SEIU 2015. “It’s time to do what’s right for the patients at this facility who depend on these caregivers to provide them quality care, and it’s time for these workers to be respected. We want management to meet us at the table so we can figure out a solution that works for all.”
The strike at River Valley, the only union facility in Redding, started Sunday, November 25 and ended today, Tuesday, November 27.
Since management refuses to meet with workers, it is unknown for now when a new contract will be negotiated.
“I have been a CNA for 17 years” – Devin Wood, CNA, River Valley Nursing Home
“Working conditions at River Valley are really bad” – Susan Giron, CNA, River Valley Nursing Home
“If we don’t do this work then who will?” – Breanna McGuire, CNA, River VAlley Nursing Home
Representing over 385,000 home care, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living center workers, SEIU Local 2015 is the largest Local in California. Our members represent every race, every faith, and every ethnicity but are united in their commitment to caring for California’s most vulnerable; seniors and the disabled.
It is our mission to unleash the collective power of long term care workers, their families, and their communities; harness the power of technology; and, build a broad movement to disrupt the unjust status quo in order to bring lasting transformational change towards a more just society for all.