1199 SEIU-Represented Nursing Home Caregivers In Buffalo & Rochester - Who’ve Been ‘Hit Hard’ By COVID‐19, Hold Informational Pickets To ‘Demand Safe’ Staffing Levels, ‘Better’ Wages & Healthcare Benefits
(WESTERN NEW YORK) – More than 100 Nursing Home Workers who’ve been hit hard during the COVID-19 Pandemic are fighting for fair wages, safe staffing and a Union Contract at two Western New York and Rochester area facilities that are owned or operated by The Grand Healthcare System and its CEO, Jeremy B. Strauss.
Nursing Home Workers employed at the Buffalo Community Healthcare Center and at Rochester Community Nursing & Rehabilitation are among the lowest paid Caregivers in the Buffalo and Rochester area - earning well below the average wage of Workers at other area nursing homes, said the 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents the Workers at both locations.
The Unionized Health Care Workers themselves spoke out at both actions that took place in Buffalo and Rochester on Wednesday (November 17th).
“We want safe staffing ratios to better provide for our residents, but we also need better pay rate so people want to stay here,” says Tanequa Everett, a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) employed at Buffalo Community Healthcare Center. “They hire people every week and no one stays because they refuse to work for ($12.60) an hour! Some people are working (180) hours every two weeks and still can’t make ends meet. I’m a CNA and I only earn ($13.50) an hour. We need a living wage. We take care of people for a living and we don’t even earn minimum wage. Then they turn-around and hire agency Workers and pay them nearly double what we get. Why can’t they pay us a living wage.”
Patricia Young-Lauderdale, an Activities Aide at Rochester Community Nursing & Rehabilitation for 20 years, said: “I am picketing because the cost of living went up and my paycheck doesn’t help me to pay my bills. It’s been that way for a minute and I could really use a raise. I’ve been working alone to pass all eighty residents their snacks and mail each day. I also take the residents for activities outside, family visits, all while trying to keep them entertained. If I can’t provide for them, they get left out. We used to have three people, but once they are hired and see their paycheck, they quit and leave for other places where they can make more. The pay is so very low that no one will stay. I had to take on a second job cleaning offices just to help pay my bills.”
Buffalo Community Healthcare Center and Rochester Community Caregivers are employed as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), CNAs, Dietary Aides, Cooks, Maintenance Workers, Receptionists, Activity Aides, Housekeeping and Laundry Aides.
Both facilities are owned or operated by The Grand Healthcare System.
The CEO of The Grand Healthcare System is Jeremy B. Strauss.
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East - the largest and fastest‐growing Health Care Union in America, represents more than 400,000 Nurses and Caregivers throughout the states of Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and in Washington, D.C.
WNYLaborToday.com Editor’s Note: Photos That Appear With This Labor News Report Are Courtesy Of 1199 SEIU.