5,000 caregivers put themselves on the line for good jobs and quality care
As nursing home workers and owners reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, released the following statement:
Nursing home workers across Illinois have won a major victory. Workers had gone more than two years without a wage increase and over two years without a new contract. After two years of bargaining, these dedicated, compassionate caregivers have come to a contract agreement with the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities.
This victory is a result of our members’ strength and unity in the face of unfair labor practices. We were prepared to strike because we believe in quality care and good jobs. We also believe in justice. Nursing home workers of all backgrounds – white, black, and brown, native-born and immigrant, in urban and rural areas – stood strong together to win a life-changing contract.
And we are not alone. Nursing home residents, their families, elected officials, and community allies were ready to stand with us to say enough is enough. These same allies will help us build a long term care system that works for all Illinois families.
Through this contract, the owners and management groups at the 103 nursing homes of the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities recognize SEIU Healthcare Illinois members as skilled, dedicated, and valued employees who provide quality care.
Nursing home workers won important improvements, including:
- Significant wage increases. This means nursing home workers will be able to provide for their families while taking care of others. These increases won in this agreement will reduce staff turnover and make sure workers can provide for their families.
- Improvements to hold nursing home owners accountable for quality care.
- Firmed up protections for immigrant workers.
A bargaining committee of 80 members, representing the broad range of nursing home workers, voted overwhelmingly to support this agreement with owners. A vote will be held in coming weeks for workers at large to ratify this agreement. If ratified, it will be effective from May 1, 2017 to April 30 of 2020.
Nursing home workers do some of the most important work there is, caring for and caring about our aging loved ones and family members with disabilities. They help our mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and loved ones who are no longer capable of living independently continue to live with dignity and receive the quality care they need and deserve.
Everyone should have access to the care services they need so they can live with dignity. And no one should be paid poverty wages and forced to work in unfair or unsafe conditions to provide care. We will continue to fight for all working families in our state and build stronger, healthier communities.