As workers continue to flee the nursing home industry, employees of Providence Home and Community Care unite in coordinated protests across California to secure improvements in workplace conditions and better pay and benefits
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, joined together across California in coordinated protests to highlight the urgency in reaching an agreement on improved wages, benefits and other working conditions with Providence Home and Community Care facilities—the state’s largest nursing home operator. Nearly 500 workers picketed in front of nine Providence nursing homes statewide. Nursing home workers spoke out about the slow pace of negotiations where they are seeking to improve wages, benefits and working conditions that are needed to address the challenges of high turnover rates and staffing shortages in their facilities.
These essential workers are determined to use their contract bargaining negotiations to ensure that nursing home jobs are good, quality jobs that can effectively stop the skyrocketing turnover rate leaving too many facilities in California severely understaffed. However, workers feel that the progress of negotiations with Providence has not matched the urgency of the issues they are facing and that need to be addressed.
“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. They deserve to see quicker results, ” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015.
Today’s series of actions take place 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 the demand only continues to grow. 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.
“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 in Auburn, CA. “We won’t stop pushing for radical change in this industry; we need good jobs for frontline heroes and safety for our residents.”
“I’ll be real with you. Less than $20 an hour just doesn’t pay the bills anymore,” said Dianne Scott, a Restorative Nurse Assistant in Marysville, CA. “With prices skyrocketing these past few months on gas, rent, food—you name it—I can’t even afford to see a movie. I work too hard not to be able to go out to a movie once in a while. And we’re so understaffed that RNAs also have to do CNA work on top of our regular duties. It’s too much. It’s dangerous for us and our residents. Something’s gotta give.”
Throughout 2022, SEIU Local 2015 members have also held multiple statewide days of action, demonstrating at long-term care facilities across California to highlight the staffing crisis, demand support for improved conditions, and put pressure on those with the power to make the necessary changes needed to fix this broken industry.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.