Surrounding community will now have a safer nursing home, studies show.
Pasadena, CA—Nursing Home professionals employed at Terraces at Park Marino voted today to form their union with SEIU 2015, California’s largest long-term care Union. All 50 full‐time, regular part‐time and on‐call caregivers/med‐techs, wellness coordinators, front desk, dietary, transportation, activities, maintenance, housekeeping and laundry employees will gain Union representation for the first time.
“Nursing home workers—a majority women, a majority women of color—have served 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, Secretary-Treasurer SEIU. “People are leaving this industry in droves; California already lost 11% of its nursing home workforce since the pandemic began and a poll earlier this year indicates that another half of all nursing home workers say they’ll leave their jobs this year. It’s unsustainable for our communities as the ‘silver tsunami’ barrels down. We need to overhaul the broken nursing home industry immediately—and workers demanding a voice on the job through their union is a crucial step in ensuring we make progress in keeping our frontline heroes and the vulnerable folks they care for safe.”
“It’s a challenge when we’re so often short staffed,” said Barbara Laird, Caregiver, Extended Living. “Management doesn’t have our backs when we sound the alarm on dangerously low staffing. I voted for our union because I want to see a change.”
On the heels of a devastating pandemic that hit nursing homes hardest, it’s important to note that there are remarkable safety benefits to having a unionized workforce in our nursing homes. A study published this year found that unionized nursing homes had lower worker infection rates and nearly 11% fewer patient deaths from COVID-19.
Workers at Terraces now have a voice on the job. Next, they’ll take steps to form a bargaining team and negotiate their first union contract. Currently, caregivers at Terraces have virtually no benefits, with nothing more than an insufficient “medical allowance” that does not adequately cover typical healthcare needs. The only sick time they receive is the minimum mandated by the state, hardly adequate for workers in a healthcare setting.
This comes at a time of renewed interest in unions. According to recent data from the Labor Relations Board collected between October 2021 and March 2022, union representation petitions filed at the agency increased 57% from the same period a year ago. Fifty-four Starbucks company-owned stores have formally organized, an Amazon warehouse in New York City voted to form their first union, and Google Fiber contractors in Kansas City voted to unionize their office in March. Today’s win for the workers at Terraces is the latest victory in a pro-union movement that has gained traction over the COVID pandemic.