Workers at four facilities across the Southland plan to walk out to demand safe staffing, an end to safety violations and the dumping of psychiatric patients.
Southern California—Nursing home union members from SEIU Local 2015 hosted a press conference at the Local’s Los Angeles headquarters in anticipation of their 3-day unfair labor practice strike against four facilities belonging to healthcare giant Brius Rockport: Vernon Healthcare Center (Los Angeles), Norwalk Skilled Nursing and Healthcare Center (Norwalk), Montrose Springs Skilled Nursing and Healthcare Center (Montrose), and Gardenview Skilled Nursing and Healthcare Centre (Claremont).
Speakers were accompanied by various community allies, including the following people: Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, City of Alhambra Councilmember Sasha Renee Perez, City of Huntington Park Councilmember Karina Macias, Commissioner Phulante Riddle, City of Bell Gardens Councilmember Jorgel Chavez, Maya Douglas (Assemblymember Mike Gipson’s District Director), LACDP Chair Mark Gonzalez, and Assemblymember Tina McKinnor.
- The understaffing crisis plaguing nursing home facilities.
- Health and safety violations issues from the state.
- How Brius facilities need to rise to the occasion and recognize the social and racial justice imperative of staffing standards.
- The way nursing home workers are burning out, both emotionally and physically.
- The inequities involved in understaffing.
- The overflow of psych patients that employees aren’t trained to care for and resulting incidences of workplace violence.
“Right now, Brius facility workers—including workers at my facility—plan to strike later this month. We need to bring attention to dangerously low staffing levels, as well as the lack of special training to handle the unique needs of all the younger psychiatric patients we’re getting,” said Maria Alejandra, a CNA at the City of Claremont’s Gardenview Healthcare and Wellness Centre. “Recently, I was transferring my patient from their bed to a wheelchair. The psych resident in the bed next to my patient wanted to get out of bed and was demanding medication that they weren’t supposed to take yet. When this psych patient tried to get out of bed and wander off, I tried to guide them back into bed, but they kept getting angrier and angrier. When I turned to wheel my other patient out of the room so that nothing would happen to them, the psych patient got anxious or agitated and started kicking and hitting me from behind and started attacking the other resident who was in the wheelchair.”
Maria Alejandra is not the only nursing home worker with a story about workplace violence. Far too often, nursing home employees are made to endure an unsafe workplace, all so that nursing home owners can boost their bottom line. This needs to change, and it needs to change with safer staffing.
“Understaffing nursing home facilities means health and safety risks and injuries—it’s that simple. As more and more people age into the care industry, the staffing shortage in our nursing homes becomes more urgent,” said SEIU 2015 Executive Vice President, Kim Evon. “Our members know the only way to keep residents and staff safe is by attracting more nursing home workers with a livable wage and benefits.”
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.