Critically Short-Staffed Caregivers Overwhelmingly Vote To Strike!November 18, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: April Ezzell, 1199SEIU Communications, (716)449-1620
Nursing Home Workers Are Fed Up With Short Staffing, Lack of Fair Contract
Ithaca, NY - More than 70 healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East at Cayuga Ridge Nursing Home in Ithaca, NY voted to authorize a strike. Healthcare workers have been working without a contract since May 1 all while short staffed. Over the last few months, workers have held rally and informational picket.
Caregivers will issue their employer a 10-day notice of a strike to stand up for better staffing levels if no agreement can be reached. “We need to stand up to management and let them know that the way we are working is not okay for us or the residents and that’s why we voted to strike,” says Nicole Murray, Certified Nurse Assistant for 24 years. “We are always very short staffed, even before the pandemic, says Murray. “I work on the dementia unit and our residents need a lot of care. On my unit, there are 37 residents along with one other aide. It’s hard and exhausting. When we don’t have enough staff, it’s a safety risk for the residents and for the workers. We need more staff because residents deserve quality care and with so many of them and so few of us, it’s impossible to do sometimes. We need management to understand our working conditions and to offer better benefits and wages, so we have adequate staffing at all times,” says Murray.
Healthcare workers are ready to strike over quality care and lack of a fair contract. “As healthcare workers, we took an oath to provide excellent care to anyone who needs our help,” says Selena Krone, a Licensed Practical Nurse for 16 years. “Everyone needs and deserves a happy life, especially our senior citizens who had to give up their lives to be in a nursing home. But we also made a commitment to give our families the best life we can,” says Krone.
The downstate owners continue to offer concessionary proposals to dedicated caregivers. “The employer is denying local workers fair wages and important benefits they need to provide for their families,” says Emmanuel White, 1199SEIU Organizer. “New York City based owners of Cayuga Ridge, are disrespecting our local caregivers by not reaching an agreement that improves staffing levels and offers decent benefits and wages to attract more local workers,” says White.
Caregivers believe quality care is at risk. “The residents deserve to have quality care and to feel safe, it’s their home,” says Krone. “We do our best to provide this for them, but when you do not have enough staff, you are spread thin and can get burned out. We are their caregivers and we need to provide a happy and caring environment for them. We will strike and stick together to make this happen,” says Krone.
Nursing Home workers at the Ithaca facility work as Unit Clerks, Grounds Keepers, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Social Workers, and Physical Therapy Assistants.
Cayuga Ridge Nursing Home is owned and operated by New York City based Shalom (Shully) and Barry Braunstein.
Negotiations between workers and management is scheduled to resume on November 29th and 30th when a federal mediator will join talks.
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.