After Months of Bargaining, the Nation’s Largest Long Term Care Union Reaches Agreement to Increase Wages, Overtime, and Expand Healthcare
(Delano, CA) – SEIU Local 2015, California’s largest union representing long term caregivers throughout the state, today announced a new contract with Delano District Skilled Nursing Facility which will give all employees a 2% increase in wages on their next working anniversary, providing wage increases retroactively through July. In addition to the increased wages workers will be eligible for overtime after eight hours of work and enjoy higher employer contributions to healthcare costs.
The union has been negotiating with the facility since June of this year. Throughout the pandemic, the facility was offering no increase in wages or benefits for its workers who were working tirelessly to provide care for elderly patients most at risk for contracting the virus. Members were working shifts to the point of exhaustion, with at least two staff fainting due to the long work days. Still, these workers were committed to taking care of the most vulnerable patients and were seeking wages and benefits comparable to surrounding facilities.
Over the summer, the Union held several actions inside and outside of the facility calling on management to recognize the essential and critical care they provide and demanding respect and dignity in their workplace. The union formed online petitions from members and community allies, held caravans in the streets of Delano and Vigils for residents and caregivers whose lives were lost throughout the pandemic in an effort to raise awareness to the ongoing unjust treatment of workers and residents. Additionally, the union made a commitment to a strike from 90% of the staff — a measure taken only in the most dire situations to ensure workers rights — before the agreement was reached.
“We are happy to have reached an agreement for the members working in the Delano Skilled Nursing Facility,” said SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President, Dereck Smith. “In the midst of a pandemic, our members have worked to provide the care necessary to each resident living in the facility. We must always ensure that workers’ needs are met and their pay and benefits reflect the essential nature of the work. We look forward to continuing that support and advancing the fight for fair wages and benefits in the Delano District Skilled Nursing Facility.”
Since January 2020, SEIU Local 2015 has worked with counties and nursing homes across the state of California to ratify 45 contracts, securing better wages, benefits and access to training for over 43,300 members. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities across California, and as the state’s aging population is expected to grow at increasingly high rates, SEIU Local 2015 will continue to advocate for long term care workers working on the frontlines of the pandemic. In order to adequately address the growing issues plaguing the long term care industry, SEIU Local 2015 is advocating local and federal governments to take actions including:
- Evaluation and reconfiguration of the Medicare system which currently incentivises nursing home employers by rewarding higher payouts for short term patients, leaving long term patients with an even greater lack of quality care;
- Full transparency of corporate systems to ensure that profits contribute to higher quality of care and not executives’ bottom lines;
- Training for infectious control and a program that includes disaster preparedness with regular upskilling allowing for workers’ healthcare growth opportunities; as well as a recruitment program to fill current short-staffing and the future needs;
- Pay and benefits that demonstrate the value of nursing home workers not just in this moment, but moving forward and always;
- Further investment in recruitment and training of workers to meet the growing demands of the aging population.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, SEIU Local 2015 members and leaders have continued to address the ongoing needs of people working on the frontlines of our healthcare system and have remained committed to calling on the administration to prioritize the nation’s essential long term care workers.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.