As workers continue to flee the nursing home industry, Providence employees across California will unite in coordinated pickets to improve conditions
10-day intent to picket delivered on June 19th, with actions—including 8 pickets—slated for June 29th at nearly 20 facilities statewide
Los Angeles, CA – Today, nursing home workers and members of SEIU Local 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing more than 400,000 long-term care workers in California, announced a coordinated picket and other actions at nearly 20 Providence Home and Community Care nursing home facilities in California. On June 29th, nursing home workers of SEIU Local 2015 will speak out at pickets at eight Providence facilities about the poor working conditions they are experiencing, which have been exacerbated by unsafe staffing levels, low wages, and high turnover rates—all ongoing issues they’re demanding to be addressed in their contract negotiations.
Workers are using their contract bargaining negotiations to ensure that nursing home jobs are good jobs—and stop the skyrocketing turnover that leaves facilities understaffed. However, Providence, which is one of the largest and most influential nursing home operators in California, has not come forward to the negotiating table with meaningful proposals to address these urgent issues.
In 2021, Providence Group acquired 54 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California, adding to their already expansive portfolio of skilled nursing facilities throughout the state. Hundreds of California nursing home workers are employed by Providence facilities and have been subject to unsafe working conditions. These workers have used everything at their disposal, from organizing marches to working with legislators, to demand that this operator address the urgent crisis plaguing their facilities.
The forthcoming picket occurs against the backdrop of a nursing home industry battered by the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing workforce shortages. More than 238,000 nursing home workers have left the industry nationwide since the start of the pandemic. California alone has lost 11% of its nursing home workforce, while demand grows. A recent poll by SEIU Local 2015 found that staffing shortages in the healthcare industry were the number one concern of nursing home workers—edging out inflation, COVID-19, affordable healthcare, affordable housing and the economy, among other issues. 82% said they were extremely concerned, with an additional 8% expressing concern.
The Providence workers’ union contract campaign is a critical effort to address the urgent needs of essential workers as national and statewide nursing home staffing numbers continue to decline. Advancing contract negotiations will create desirable jobs that will keep these essential care workers from leaving the industry at a time when they’re needed most.
“California’s long-term care workers have been on the front lines, protecting our most vulnerable throughout the pandemic, all while struggling to survive on low wages and inadequate healthcare benefits,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “The lack of movement in these contract negotiations is unacceptable, and as a major nursing home operator, Providence must be held accountable. With half of nursing home workers across the state saying they’re likely to leave within a year, we need to overhaul the broken nursing home industry immediately, and this process can only begin once major facilities such as Providence finally stand with their workers, treating them with the dignity and care they deserve.”
“After COVID-19 devastated our nursing homes, the need for safe staffing and quality employee benefits has never been more urgent,” said Nancy Leon, a certified nursing assistant at Westview Healthcare Center, a Providence-owned facility. “Our mobilization and advocacy will not end until an institutional commitment to investing in these frontline heroes is reached.”
Over the last two years, SEIU Local 2015 members across California have put their fight to improve the long-term care industry into high gear. Nursing home workers employed by Providence and other large facilities have been taking local legislative action to demand respect, protection, and livable wages. To advance the effort to transform nursing homes from profit centers to care centers, SEIU Local 2015 has called for a Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Standards Board to establish an accountable, worker-centered solution to the nursing home staffing crisis.
Throughout 2022, SEIU Local 2015 members have also held multiple state-wide days of action, demonstrating at long-term care facilities across California to highlight the staffing crisis, show support for improved conditions, and to put pressure on those with the power to make the necessary changes.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.