At five locations across Minnesota, hundreds of caregivers and community allies demonstrated in support of nursing home workers and residents. The informational pickets and other activities are part of an ongoing statewide campaign for fair contracts, calling on nursing home owners and state legislators to invest in dignity for our state’s seniors and those who care for them.
The actions took place at Cerenity Care Centers in Saint Paul and South Saint Paul, Providence Place in Minneapolis, Red Wing Health Center, and St. Lucas Care Center in Faribault.
The workers are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.
“I got into healthcare because I love to care for our seniors and I could raise a family on the pay and health insurance benefits,” said Lisa Chatterton, a Trained Medication Aide at Providence Place for the past 26 years. “But now, I am asked to care for more residents than ever before, my home was foreclosed on, and I am uninsured because Providence Place eliminated our health insurance program and I can’t afford coverage on my own. My story is not unique for working families in Minnesota, and it’s time that we do something about it.”
|Outside Cerenity Care Center in St. Paul, state Rep. Erin Murphy, a registered nurse, praised workers for standing up for quality care and long-term care residents.|
“Every day, we do our best to provide quality care for our seniors and rehabilitation patients in communities across Minnesota,” said Ashley Nelson, a Trained Medication Aide at Red Wing Health Center. “But every year, we are being asked to do more with less, and we are reaching a breaking point. As caregivers, we need to be able to make ends meet for the extraordinary work that we do.”
Over 2,400 nursing home employees are currently in negotiations for safe staffing, affordable healthcare, and livable wages. Workers covered by the collective bargaining agreements include frontline caregivers – Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Nursing Assistants – as well as all manner of service and maintenance workers – from dietary and housekeeping to activity and rehabilitation aides.
“Instead of investing the hard-earned dollars that families pay into recruiting and retaining frontline caregivers, some nursing home owners are pocketing the increases and freezing wages for nurses,” said Nancy Mack, a Certified Nurse Assistant at Cerenity Care Center in Saint Paul for the past 29 years. “How can we expect our loved ones to get the care they deserve when there is a revolving door of new staff?”