Southern California—After months of bargaining and delivering a 10-day notice of intent to strike in October (10-day strike notice press release), nursing home union members from SEIU Local 2015 ratified contract agreements with management in December.
Nursing home workers sought improvements to wages, staffing and working conditions to stop high turnover and attract needed employees at several Rockport/Brius facilities in the LA area. Many of these same workers were (and continue to be) on the frontlines of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Bargaining provided a space for workers to push for and win improvements to their contract, including:
- Annual wage increases across the board between 3-12 %.
- Standardized healthcare coverage across the facilities—at some facilities, workers were paying half of their coverage. At all facilities, the employer pays 75%, with seniority improvements: after 6 years, the employer will pay 80% and after x years, 85%
- The employer agrees to come back to the table in 2 years to discuss establishing an education and training fund for staff development.
- Workers also won guarantees that they’ll receive a portion of any Medicare quality incentive money the facilities earn, guaranteed wage step increases based on seniority, no reduction in wages if asked to fill in for a lower-paying position, a renewed commitment to a stronger labor-management committee process, and more.
“The demand for care jobs in the U.S., including nursing homes, continues to grow at an exponential rate. This employer recognized the urgent need to invest in these facilities and attract the urgently needed workers,” said SEIU 2015 President Arnulfo De La Cruz. “This is also a justice issue…it’s not lost on us that a majority of nursing home workers are Black women, Indigenous women, women of color, and immigrants, and too many of these essential workers struggle with low wages and inadequate benefits.”
“It took a while, but we finally crossed that finish line, and I think we’re stronger for it,” says nursing home dietary aide Keffer Issaac, who works at Centinela Skilled Nursing Centre in Inglewood. “We were bargaining for almost a year. It was, by no means, an easy process. There was a lot of struggle involved in getting things to line up in a way that’ll benefit all of the workers and those we care for.”
Keffer Issaac goes on to say, “For me, bargaining was a matter of being able to put food on my table, or going without, so I put my all into the negotiations, and I know that my colleagues did, too. We almost went out on strike. That’s how serious all of this was. That’s how much all of this meant to not just as union workers, but as healthcare professionals. There was so much at stake, and we didn’t always agree, but we banded together like the family that we are, and now we’re over the finish line. I can barely begin to express how happy this has all made me.”
The full list of participating nursing homes is listed below:
- Norwalk Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre
- Bay Vista Healthcare Center
- Highland Park Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre
- Maywood Healthcare and Wellness Centre
- Los Feliz Healthcare and Wellness Centre
- Centinela Skilled Nursing Centre East
- Centinela Skilled Nursing Centre West
- Park Avenue Healthcare and Wellness Centre
- Vernon Healthcare Center
- Gardenview Healthcare and Wellness Centre
- Centinela Assisted Living Centre
- Overland Terrace Healthcare and Wellness Centre
- Montrose Springs Skilled Nursing and Healthcare
- East Terrace Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre
- Grand Avenue Healthcare and Wellness Centre
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.