1199SEIU Healthcare Workers at Brooks Memorial/TLC Hospital Network Overwhelmingly Ratify ContractMarch 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: April Ezzell, 1199SEIU Communications,(716)449‐1620
Caregivers who held one‐day strike form coalition with Clergy, NY and Missouri Labor Unions to bring their contract fight to the steps of Ascension Living Headquarters
WHO: Ascension Living Nursing Home Workers from Our Lady of Peace, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, AFL-CIO, The WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, St. Louis Central Labor Council, SEIU Healthcare Missouri and Jobs With Justice
WHAT: Press Conference & Rally
WHEN: Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 4:30pm
WHERE: Ascension Living Corporate offices
4600 Edmundson Road St. Louis, Missouri 64134
WHY: Ascension Living at Our Lady of Peace Caregivers will join St. Louis Labor Unions, Community Partners, and Clergy to demand that Ascension Living provide fair wages to help recruit and retain workers at facility in Lewiston. The beleaguered caregivers hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic have been working critically short-staffed while Ascension Living closes units and threatens lay-offs. Caregivers held a one-day strike. The nursing home workers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and have been working without a contract since December 31, 2021 when their 16-month contract expired.
“When we don’t have enough staff, residents don’t get that extra attention that they need – they can feel neglected at times,” says Krista Diez, Licensed Practical Nurse. “Our resident’s mental health suffers if they don’t have that extra face to face time with us. They need human interaction, and we can’t provide that if there aren’t enough of us,” says Diez.
Ascension Living is offering starting rates of pay from $1-$5 per hour below area standards, and 1199SEIU healthcare workers at Our Lady of Peace, many of whom are women and people of color are standing up for themselves and the residents they provide care for. “The WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of 1199SEIU as they fight for dignity and respect on the job,” says Peter De Jesus, Jr, President. “These healthcare heroes answered the call during COVID -19 pandemic against considerable unknowns putting their own health and that of their family and loved ones at risk every day to ensure that the most vulnerable of our community receive the care they deserve. Shame on Ascension Living for not recognizing their greatest asset, their employees, and not offering them a contract that is in line with regional standards in WNY. We have formed a coalition of NYS and Missouri Labor Partners who will take the demand for fair wages right to the steps of Ascension Headquarters this week,” says De Jesus, Jr. “The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists stands with the nursing home workers at Ascension Living in their fight for decent wages with benefits so that they can provide for their families, living in the richest country in the world,” says Jay Ozier, President of Coalition of Black Trade Unionist, St. Louis Chapter.
"As a Christian institution, Ascension Living must provide their workers with dignity & respect,” says The Reverend Tommie Pierson, Sr., Co-Chair, Missouri Jobs with Justice’s St. Louis Workers Rights Board. “Healthcare workers in Ascension’s nursing homes are caring for some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. Ascension, in turn, needs to care for these workers,” says Pierson.
"On behalf of the St. Louis Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO we are ready to stand with our fellow union members from New York in their fight for a fair contract with Ascension," says Pat White, President.
This isn’t Ascension Living’s only labor dispute. Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals are also demanding fair wages, COVID pay and better staffing from Ascension Living.1, 2
Ascension Living is a subsidiary of one of the largest Catholic Health systems in the United States.3 In fiscal year 2021, Ascension Living reported a net income of 5.7 billion dollars,4 while receiving $1.8 billion in federal grants.5
According to US Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the facility is currently 48% occupied, well below the 83% New York State average.6
Caregivers at Ascension Living at Our Lady of Peace are Registered Nurses, Nurse Assistant, Certified Nurse Assistant-Rehabilitation, Certified Rehabilitation Aide, Direct Care Nurse (Graduate PN), Environmental Services Operator, Housekeeping Aide, Laundry Aide, Licensed Practical Nurse, Maintenance Technician, Nurse Assistant Student, Nutrition Services Aide, Nutrition Services Cook, Cook's Assistant, Porter/Dishwasher, Recreational Aide, Registered Staff Nurses, Senior Housekeeping Aide, and Unit Attendants.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest‐growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. https://www.1199seiu.org
1. Op-Ed: Please, Ascension Wisconsin, Respect Your Workers » Urban Milwaukee
2. Ascension Nurses Are Speaking Out All Across Michigan - International Brotherhood of Teamsters
3. Report asserts that Ascension Health hospitals engaged in anti-union activity | Fierce Healthcare
4. Ascension bounces back with $5.7B net income (beckershospitalreview.com)
5. Hospital chain Ascension has weathered the pandemic just fine - Axios
6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, COVID-19 Nursing Home Data, last updated Jan 30, 2022, available online