6,000 Frontline Caregivers Were Prepared to Strike at 64 Facilities for Hazard Pay, Paid Time Off and Crucial Resources to Safeguard the Health and Well-Being of Both Workers and Residents
CHICAGO—Frontline nursing home workers who were poised to start a historic strike on Friday have reached a tentative agreement with nursing home owners for a two-year contract with significant wins that will help safeguard both workers and residents through the current pandemic and beyond.
The agreement impacts over 10,000 members of SEIU Healthcare who provide care to residents at the 100+ nursing homes of the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities. The contract gains are a testament to the courage and commitment of workers who were poised to strike at 64 facilities in order to protect themselves and the residents for which they care during this time of unprecedented vulnerability and risk.
The workers won significant contract gains, including:
- Higher baseline wages bringing all workers above $15 an hour and establishing greater parity in wages across geographic areas
- Hazard pay for all workers for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis
- Additional fully paid sick days for COVID-19 related testing, illness or quarantine for duration of the crisis
- Provisions ensuring that employees are not required to work without adequate PPE as determined by regulatory agencies for the duration of the crisis
All of the major contract gains will help safeguard the health and safety of workers and the residents for which they care—at a time when both are vulnerable to the risks associated with COVID-19. While residents are at increased risk of the virus due to age and compromised health, workers face increased negative impacts from coronavirus due to their history of poverty wages, lack of paid time off, and the underlying health conditions that often accompany poverty. Additionally, a majority of workers are African-American, and a disproportionate number of African-American lives have been claimed by COVID-19.
Significantly, the agreement continues to build on the progress made by nursing home workers in recent years to lift wage standards for the industry.
The tentative agreement was overwhelmingly supported by members of the bargaining committee, but must be ratified by the larger group of members who will be impacted by its terms.
Both remote and in-person media availability with workers and union representatives will be announced later in the day.