Los Angeles, CA–After taking a strike vote across several facilities on September 6th, members of SEIU Local 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union and California’s largest labor union representing nearly 450,000 nursing home workers and home care providers, have authorized their bargaining team to call an unfair labor practice strike across four facilities if needed. This strike revolves around Rockport Brius-owned facilities in California, and workers are demanding an end to skyrocketing staff turnover and safer staffing levels to ensure that all residents receive the high quality care they deserve.
Nursing home workers at 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) participated in this strike vote.
Over the years, California’s health department has issued various citations to Brius facilities. And according to allegations made in one lawsuit, Brius keeps its facilities understaffed on purpose to maximize their profits. In other words, the vicious cycle of low staffing levels leading to burnout and high turnover leading to even lower staffing levels is manufactured
This strike takes place against the backdrop of a nursing home industry battered by the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and workforce shortages. Hundreds of thousands nursing home workers have left the industry nationwide since the start of the pandemic. Nursing home workers are primarily of women of color (as are long-term care providers across the nation). Workers are calling for improved care and working conditions. They’re calling for wages and benefits that match the value of their essential work and attract enough talent to fill empty jobs.
“Last week Sunday I had to take care of over a dozen residents, which forced me to split up my time in a way that only allowed me a minute or two to make sure that all my residents were okay–it wasn’t possible to do my usual check-in with them–I had five or six more to feed or change. I almost tripped over myself trying to literally run around and make sure everyone was good. The stress was eating away at me. And that whole time, even with the patient charts around me, I’m being forced to do the math in my head to make sure that nobody is getting left behind.” says Arquinta Stanford, a CNA at the City of Long Beach’s Country Villa Bay Vista Healthcare Center.
“This strike vote sends a strong message that we urgently need to invest in our frontline caregivers and those they care for. Long-term care workers are some of the most essential workers in our communities. They’ve served and protected our loved ones throughout the pandemic and beyond, yet are caring for more residents than they can safely attend to. They often work double shifts sometimes exceeding 16 hours, are at times denied sick days and, understandably, think about leaving these jobs they love,” said SEIU 2015 President Arnulfo De La Cruz during the month of pickets at Brius facilities earlier this summer. “In order to truly transform the nursing home industry, we need to ensure that these jobs can attract and retain the workforce our communities depend on.” To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.