We are pleased to announce that the tentative agreement for Illinois Association of Healthcare Facilities has been ratified by a 98% YES vote!
At the end of last year, the IAHCF decided to pull one of the oldest tricks in the book: they tried to divide us by disbanding the Association. Little did they know that we had been working tirelessly to organize even more nursing home workers, build a stronger union, and make our voices heard in Springfield. No matter where we live or what we look like, we were united in the goal of winning the best contract possible and keeping the Association together.
When owners threatened to disband, we quickly moved to action. From Chicago to Rockford and Kankakee to Sterling, we started spreading the word about the fight ahead in our homes. We alerted state lawmakers that nursing home owners had used loopholes to pocket funds from the American Rescue Plan Act that were intended for frontline workers. We also took our fight over ARPA funds directly to nursing home owners during a day of action last fall.
Thanks to all of this work and the political power we’ve built over the last decade, state lawmakers stood with us and refused to provide anymore funding to the nursing home industry until there were guarantees in place that it would get to who it was meant for – US, the frontline workforce!
Combining our people power with our political power, we were able to reach an agreement with the industry that brought the Association back together and guarantees that any additional pandemic payments they receive will go directly into the pockets of members. We know it’s crucial to keep the Association together so we can set one industry standard across all nursing homes. We won’t let them divide us!
Here are the details of the agreement, which will begin May 1st, 2022:
- 3-year agreement expiring April 30, 2025
- Keep all 108 facilities in the Association
- 5 additional sick days for COVID related purposes
- $2 increase for all workers on May 1, 2022
- Economic reopener in year 2 (2023)
This agreement will require all Association owners to spend 65% of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money on a $2 wage increase for ALL frontline workers on May 1st. Because the money is coming from Springfield this agreement is contingent on legislators allocating the ARPA funds to the nursing home industry before the session closes at the end of April. We are working to make sure this happens and will keep you updated on the process. We were able to keep all 108 homes in the Association together in one contract, so we can continue setting nursing home industry-wide standards that applies to all workers—we know that we are always stronger together! We will come back to the bargaining table next year in 2023 for an economic reopener where we will be able to renegotiate our wage increases for 2023 and 2024. This agreement continues our pattern of moving our wages forwards in leaps and bounds, instead of small increments.
“We have always been essential, and the world saw how essential we are during the pandemic. Our industry suffered so much. Many residents and workers got sick; others lost their lives. But even through all that struggle, we kept building power and holding our bosses and elected officials accountable.
This victory shows what we’re capable of and it’s just the beginning. We must keep pushing and keep educating new nursing home workers about how far we have truly come.”
Debra Ward, Laundry Aide at Berkeley Nursing & Rehab