Lewiston Nursing Home Workers To Picket Tomorrow Over Staffing Crisis, Lack of Competitive Wages From St. Louis Based Ascension LivingFebruary 10, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: April Ezzell, 1199SEIU Communications (716)449-1620
Local Caregivers Say Ascension Living Closed Three Units and Threatens Lay-Offs Amid Staffing Crisis Exacerbated By Low Wages
Who: Nursing Home Workers At Ascension Living at Our Lady of Peace
What: Informational Picket
When: Tomorrow - Thursday, February 10, 2022
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Press Conference at 3:15 pm
Guest Speaker: Assemblyman Angelo Morinello
Where: Our Lady of Peace, 5285 Lewiston Road, Lewiston, NY 14092
Why?: More than 150 nursing home workers at Our Lady of Peace in Lewiston have been working without a union contract since December 31, 2021 when their 16-month contract expired. Caregivers are represented by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East have been negotiating with Ascension Living since early November last year and will hold an informational picket tomorrow outside of their facility.
Wage standards for nursing home workers across Western, New York have increased over the last year.1 2 Healthcare workers at Our Lady of Peace say their wages are falling below other caregivers in the area and that their St. Louis, Missouri 3 based employer, Ascension Living isn’t offering competitive wages to recruit and retain staff at the facility. Our Lady of Peace recently closed three units while threatening layoffs, exacerbating the staffing crisis and reducing the amount of nursing home beds available to ease overflow from area hospitals.
“A lot of money has been spent on the building, which is great but the owners need to invest in workers too,” says Brendella Pryor, a Certified Nurse Assistant. “I have worked here for 29 years and it’s how I pay my bills. There’s a lot of places you can go to make more money, but I’ve stayed here for my residents. I’m invested in their care and providing for them. We give good care, we come in and do the work, the hard work and want to be paid a competitive wage,” says Pryor.
Workers and management failed to reach an agreement today. Union members are ready to hit the picket line tomorrow. “We made every effort to negotiate fair wages with management, but they didn’t hear us today and so we need to make them listen,” says Crescendra Agee, Cook. “They will hear us tomorrow – on the picket line,” says Agee.
Ascension Living uses agency workers at many of their facilities across the country. “Ascension relies heavily on agency and pays those workers at a much higher rate, but won’t even pay local dedicated workers the industry standard for our area,” says Hannah Lorenc, 1199SEIU Administrative Organizer. According to Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Payroll Based Journal, 22 out of 28 Ascension Living facilities use agency workers to staff their facilities.4
Caregivers 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