Members of SEIU Local 2015—California’s Largest Labor Union—hold Statewide Valentine’s Day of Action to call for an end to dangerously unsafe staffing levels in nursing homes
It’s ValenTime for Safe Staffing! SEIU 2015 will be sharing the love this Valentine’s Day by advocating for safe working conditions, access to PPE, benefits, and a $20 wage floor for all long-term care workers in this Day of Action
Monday, February 14th, Los Angeles, CA – Today, SEIU 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union and California’s largest labor union representing more than 400,000 nursing home and home care workers, is leading a Valentine’s Day of Action across 30 locations in California calling for safe staffing levels, improved working conditions, and better pay and benefits to address skyrocketing turnover as workers leave the industry at alarming rates. These frontline essential workers cared for our communities’ most vulnerable, yet are faced with low wages and inadequate protections.
“Despite finally being recognized as heroes during the early months of the pandemic, our long-term care workers, majority women of color, don’t receive the pay, benefits, or respect that adequately reflect the essential and valuable nature of their job,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “This has led to a dire staffing crisis that our members feel the impact of every day, including the shocking reality that facilities rely on COVID-positive staff for patient care. We’re taking action today to bring attention to the urgent need to invest in our frontline heroes and the vulnerable folks they care for.”
Actions are taking place at 30 long-term care facilities across the state. Locations of note are East Terrace Wellness and Rehabilitation in Los Angeles, Gardenview Healthcare & Wellness in Claremont, Laurel Wellness in Fontana, Alta Vista in Riverside, Delano District SNF, Merced Hylond, Granada Health and Wellness in Eureka, and River Valley Health and Wellness in Redding. Across these locations, SEIU Local 2015 members are speaking out regarding unsafe staffing levels, poor COVID protocols, dangerous working conditions, low wages, high turnover rate, and lack of hazard pay. At select locations, members will receive PPE and N95 masks as they speak out for safety.
“SEIU Local 2015 members are participating in Valentine’s Day demonstrations throughout California in order to highlight the care industry crisis, show member support for improved conditions, and to put pressure on those with the power to make the necessary change,” said SEIU 2015 Executive Vice President Arnulfo De La Cruz. “Nursing homes workers were hit hard by COVID-19, suffering high infection rates that brought long overdue national attention to this broken industry. The nursing home industry nationwide has lost more than 420,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic. This is why more than 300 SEIU Local 2015 members are taking action statewide today.”
“Last year, we formed our union in our nursing home. One of the main issues that led workers to stand up and unite was the staffing shortage in nearly every department,” said Margaret Caldwell, a 14-year employee of Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Eureka, in Humboldt County. “And now that we’re negotiating our first union contract, safe staffing continues to be among our top bargaining priorities. When there aren’t enough people working—in Housekeeping/Laundry, Dietary, Nursing, other departments—it affects our residents and it means they don’t get the level of care and safety that we went into this profession to provide. And it makes it even harder to retain staff. It’s a vicious cycle. We’re speaking out today to put an end to these shortages.”
Also participating in the Valentine’s Day of Action are home care providers who likewise urge leaders to improve pay and benefits in the industry.
“I had a house in Hollister, in San Benito County, where I cared for my son who has cerebral palsy. We had to move to Santa Clara, because that’s where IHSS workers won health benefits in their union contract. Home care providers in San Benito, sadly, still don’t have any health insurance,” said Norma Gutierrez, an IHSS provider in Santa Clara. “That’s why I’m participating in this action today. My dream is to go back home to Hollister and get the health insurance we need. It makes no sense that someone doing the same job in one California county earns a better wage and has better benefits while the rest of us barely make it.”
Participating SEIU members will be available on site for interviews (Spanish language speakers available at select locations), and are able to speak to today’s actions in addition to the breadth of work the Union is doing to combat this crisis and ensure better wages and benefits for their members, with the goal of dramatically reforming the industry for its long-term survival.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.