It’s been several weeks since our last negotiations with the employers of the “Group” of 65. We gave them contract proposals that include annual raises, maintenance of our health and pension benefits, and provisions to ensure we can take care of ourselves and our families at the same time we care for residents.
Today, the employers’ attorneys responded to some of those proposals and presented some of their own. Unfortunately, their proposals would mean less money in our pockets, including working longer hours for less pay, reduced job security, and overall would present obstacles to our ability to provide residents with the best possible quality care. When short-staffing is a significant problem in the nursing home industry, we know they are missing critical opportunities for recruiting and retaining staff.
They are clearly missing the point about why there is a revolving door of nursing home work- ers at many of our facilities. They think that hiring more agency workers is a great idea! They rejected our proposals for hazard pay, protected status, a new holiday, Juneteenth, and an expedited process for arbitration.
Furthermore, with the excuse of “we need to see the numbers,” they didn’t give us any pro- posals for wages and benefits. They could have at least said, “We recognize and value you healthcare heroes, and we are committed to wage increases and maintaining benefits.” But they said nothing like that! After all we’ve been through in the last year and a half, we found that insulting! We are committed to coming to work and providing care to our residents. What commitments are the employers making to us, and the quality care we provide?
In a small but important victory, at long last, the employers finally agreed to pay bargaining committee members as we go instead of paying lost-time when the contract is settled.
We are hoping to have our next bargaining date soon. In the meantime, the most important thing we can all do is continue to speak with our co-workers. We will win the contract health- care heroes deserve only by showing our unity, strength, and activism. Winning requires that 100% of members are engaged in united action!