Big Contract Victory for Long-term Care Employees Who Work For Consulate Health Care - Florida’s Largest Nursing Home OperatorDecember 14, 2021
Consulate Health Care workers have many reasons to cheer after ratifying a new contract. Thanks to a strong and unified bargaining team, Consulate workers will receive annual pay raises, higher minimum starting rates, hazard pay, an eight-hour workday and successorship language to protect them if their facility is sold.
“It’s one of the best contracts we’ve had in years. It will benefit all employees including those of us who work for contractor HCSG or Healthcare Services Group. It’s an example of the power workers have when come together through our union to demand respect, better wages and benefits,” said Jennifer Tribert, a laundry aide and member of the HCSG Bargaining Team.
“This was a long and hard-fought victory. As a bargaining team, we faced many challenges, bumps in the road and difficult decisions. But, we never wavered in our collective goal to win a fair contract because as essential workers, we truly deserve it,” said Darell Butler, cook/cna and HCSG Bargaining Team member.
Negotiations with Consulate Health Care, the largest nursing home operator in Florida, took several months. Bargaining team members knew there was a lot at stake because their coworkers were fatigued, frustrated and anxious to right the wrongs of the past. Several years ago, Consulate reduced their 8-hour workday - a financial hit for many workers who were barely making ends meet due to low pay.
“Reduced daily work hours as well Consulate’s reluctance in the past to give meaningful wage increases has been a sore spot for us all. That’s why we were determined to win back our 8-hour workday. It gives us more stability, predictability and additional money in our pockets,” said longtime cna and Consulate Bargaining Team member, Amy Runkle.
In addition to the strong contract Consulate workers won, cooks, laundry aides, floor technicians and other contracted nursing home staff who work at Consulate facilities ratified their contract. It also includes annual wage increases, higher minimums, and a signing bonus for longtime workers.
“I think and hope the pandemic helped management to realize that we are essential workers. With high turnover and short staffing, employers can’t continue to offer nursing home workers poverty wages if they want to retain experienced workers and attract new staff,” said Butler.
These victories were achieved because of the hard work and commitment of workers across the state who mobilized through their union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union in the country. Together, they have and will continue to raise their voices through the We Are Essential campaign and demand that healthcare workers are treated like the heroes many call them for risking their lives to care for our loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals during the pandemic.