(December 14th, 2017, Ferguson, MO) — On the 14th day of our unfair labor practice strike at Christian Care Nursing Home, workers continued to rally in the cold and chant, “one day longer, one day stronger.” The strike will begin its third week demonstrated the grit, dedication and solidarity of the nursing home workers as they continue to fight for a fair contract and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Brenda Davis, Restorative Aide & Steward: “We are union members. Respect our union!”
LeShay: “We work hard and deserve respect and dignity. We deserve to be treated equally.”
Inga from Housekeeping Dept: “Management doesn’t care about me”
Sharon Thompson from Laundry: “How can you care for your family on $9 an our?”
(December 13th, 2017, Ferguson, Missouri) — On day 13 of the Christian Care Nursing Home strike, we profiled four members with diverse backgrounds, ages, and years of service to highlight their voices. We also interviewed a local hero and labor ally from the Coalition of Black Trades.
Jayceana Williams to Christian Care Nursing Home: “We have work to do; come back to the table”
Nancy Jean Gates, 63-Yrs-Old; CNA Worker for 29-Years Making $10.15 an Hour
Joshua Platt: CNA: “Christian Care Is Losing Money, It Makes No Sense NOT to Agree to a Contract”
Patricia Madison, CNA: Day 13 on Strike Line, “One Day Longer, One Day Stronger!”
Labor Ally: Jay Ozier, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists “We Support Striking Nursing Home Workers for Their Courage”
(We are pleased to post this guest column by State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, December 13th, 2017 about our workers on strike at Christian Care Nursing Home in Ferguson. Representative Franks lives his values, walks-the-walk, and spoke out on our strike line on Dec. 7th – see video here).
By Bruce Franks Jr.
On Dec. 1, 100 workers at Christian Care Home in Ferguson got tired of asking to be treated decently. They got tired of asking for the nursing home ownership to follow labor law. They got tired of waiting for wages they can actually live on.
So they did what you do when you’ve been asking and asking and asking for something that is your basic God-given right and getting nowhere — they decided to stop asking and start demanding. So they went on strike. An unfair labor practice strike to be precise, because they were sick of having their rights trampled on.
It’s been over a week now, and they are still on the strike line and still demanding that ownership treat them with respect and dignity. They’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. Sick of being told their rights, their needs, and their work don’t matter. Of being told that they don’t matter.
You see, these workers know they matter. They know their work matters. It matters a lot. They do the really hard work at Christian Care.
This is a nursing home that takes care of older folks who don’t have a lot of money — and who have worked hard all their lives. And these workers are the ones who feed these residents, who bathe them, who dress them and, yes, who change them. These are the workers who make the meals, clean the floors and do the laundry.
And they do it with patience, and they do it with love. And they do it knowing that all of us are going to need some help like that someday. At least if we live long enough to need it.
They are fighting for basic things that labor law says they should have.
They’re asking that their hours not get cut without advance notice and without the nursing home bargaining with them over it — that’s basic labor law.
They’re asking that they not have their vacations taken away from them. That they not be forced to work overtime — again not without notice and not without bargaining over it. These are the rights that people suffered and died to win.
That’s why I joined them on the picket line this week, and why I’ll continue to show up for them when my schedule allows — the way they have shown up for everyone else.
They’ve shown up for the residents who depend on them — some of them have been working there 20, even 30-plus years, and their residents are family for them. They show up for their own families, trying to stretch their poverty-level paychecks to feed and clothe their children.
At the end of the day, we need to see how all of our fights are connected, whether we’re fighting against police brutality and for police accountability — or fighting for economic justice in St. Louis politics or for labor rights and decent pay at a nursing home in Ferguson.
The fight of the striking Christian Care workers belongs to all of us.
So I hope to see you soon on the picket line in Ferguson, standing up for on-the-job rights, for respect, for dignity, for fair treatment, for living wages — standing up for the worth of all of our brothers and sisters.
(December 12th, 2017, Ferguson, MO) –A key SEIU Healthcare member, Cynthia Harris, a CNA who has worked at Christian Care Nursing Home for 39-years, gave one of the most passionate speeches on Day 12 of an unfair labor practice strike which began on Dec. 1st.
Must Watch Speech: Cynthia Harris, CNA for 39-Years, gives passionate speech, “Residents miss us and we miss them!”
(A video of Ms. Harris and other members was posted yesterday, on Day 11 of the strike).
Workers have filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Christian Care Home for allegedly making unilateral changes to staffing, hours and schedules, failing to answer grievances, cancelling scheduled bargaining meetings and not being available for bargaining, failing to provide relevant information in a timely manner, and otherwise restricting workers in the exercise of their rights. The National Labor Relations Board is currently investigating that charge.
(December 11th, 2017, Ferguson, Missouri) — On day 11 of the Christian Care Nursing Home strike, as the sun started to set, workers stood outside in the cold and gusty wind chanting and marching. Cars and trucks honked consistently on the busy road to show solidarity. Members continued to show their strength and dedication to the task at hand.
These healthcare workers would rather be doing their jobs, caring for and supporting their residents. But the on-going issues at Christian Care such as short staffing, gross levels of disrespect, a toxic work environment, little support from management on top of working long hours for such low-wages was simply too much for workers to take.
“Walking out and going on strike wasn’t an easy decision for us. We thought about our residents. But we realized that the only way we would be able to give our residents the quality care, attention, and support that they truly deserve was to send a strong signal to management that the status quo could not, and would not, continue,” said Val Mitchell, CNA.
Watch four short member profiles below:
Cynthia Harris, CNA for 39-Years: “We have to take a stand!”
Ruby Crymes, Steward in Nursing Dept: “We’ve had a battle with management over 12 months.”
Val Mitchell, CNA for 20 Years; on short-staffing “We have 2 workers for 50 patients sometimes”
Constance Bohannon: “We don’t get any respect”
People with disabilities and their caregivers rallied at the Thompson Center in Chicago Thursday afternoon to denounce Governor Rauner’s punitive DHS overtime policy, which includes a ‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out” approach to violations that could suspend hundreds of caregivers (effectively terminating them), as Illinoisans head into the holiday season.
“Right before the holidays, Bruce Rauner is preparing to suspend the lifeline that people with disabilities count on so they can live independently in their homes,” said Coston Plummer, a personal assistant in the Home Care Services program. “Any day now, hundreds of PA’s could receive suspensions from the state under the DHS overtime policy. The question is ‘why’. Because they refuse to abandon the people they serve.”
Caregivers, already at or near poverty, face an agonizing dilemma under the policy: comply and abandon the consumer in their care; continue to work the hours in their consumer’s care plan and face suspension; or continue to work above the overtime cap but not submit their hours for pay to avoid penalties under the policy.
“It’s not fair. Personal assistants are already the lowest paid state workers, and now the governor is capping our hours,” said Cardean Jenkins, a personal assistant. “And he’s withholding our raises that we won in the state budget also. This policy has been confusing from the beginning, and no one in the DORS office seems to have any answers to my questions.”
“I’m disabled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Ayo Maat, ADAPT Chicago member and consumer in the Home Services Program. “We should not have such a bad policy…My PA’s are quitting because they can’t pay their rent, cannot live as decent human beings, and cannot get the healthcare they need for themselves and their families. We have to stand together.”
(December 6th, 2017) — Read the full text of Lashanda Dixon’s speech outside of Loyola University in Chicago about the Republican “tax scam” which will slash Medicaid and Medicare funding for working working families and seniors. Lashanda works at Alden Lincoln Park Nursing Home. (Watch videos of the action here).
Republicans’ Tax Scam Steals Affordable Healthcare for Seniors and Working Families to Give to the Richest 1%
Hello, my name is Lashawnda Dixon. I work at Alden Lincoln Park Nursing Home.
I am proud of my work to serve others and speak today on behalf of my sisters and brothers at my Union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois.
The Republican tax bill is nothing but a complete SCAM!
Every single working person in this country is being deceived by the Republican Party about this horrific and irresponsible legislation that will HURT working families.
How is it possible that the Republican tax bill will force working people to PAY MORE IN TAXES, and CUT Medicare by $25 billion next year alone just to give the very rich an unnecessary tax cut!
Why are seniors, and low-income families, and college students, and healthcare workers just like myself the ones who are being hurt and told to sacrifice?
My friends, we the American people are being conned by the Republicans in Congress and by President Trump.
And yes, that includes Congressman Peter Roskam, and the entire Illinois Republican delegation, and of course, billionaire Governor Bruce Rauner.
I challenge Gov. Rauner and Congressman Roskam – no, I DARE them! — to show their faces as a community forum and explain their support for this tax scam that will hurt seniors and working families.
Because in order to pay for this tax scam the Republicans will slash our healthcare. That means 13 million people will lose their health insurance according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Virtually everyone’s health premiums will go up too. Premiums for people over 50 will increase up to $1,500 per year because of this health repeal according to AARP.
How in the world does this make any sense?
Why does our billionaire Governor, Bruce Rauner, deserve an estimated $300 Million tax cut to escape paying any inheritance taxes along with other tax breaks that benefit him?
As someone who is dedicating my work to improving quality and affordable healthcare we should be EXPANDING access to Medicare and Medicaid and provide living wages to healthcare workers– not slashing these programs.
We should be demanding that the richest 1% pay their fair share in taxes and invest in our communities to create good pay jobs – not giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.
We need to lift the crushing burden of student loan debt off the backs of our college students — not saddle them with more loans to give tax breaks to large corporations.
If Donald Trump and the Republican tax scheme is enacted, we will absolutely not forget this betrayal to working families.
And to the politicians who sided with the richest 1%, and large corporations who fleeced our communities, there will be a reckoning and accountability in next year’s elections at the polls.
Watch Videos Below — Healthcare Workers Call On Billionaire Governor Bruce Rauner to Speak Out Against Trump’s Tax Bill, and Urge Illinois’ Republican Delegation, Such as Congressman Peter Roskam, to Oppose the Legislation
(December 6th, 2017, Chicago, IL) – President Donald Trump’s irresponsible tax “scam” is speeding through Congress. If enacted, Illinois families will lose their healthcare and graduate students would be forced to drop out of college in order to give huge tax cuts to the rich.
The GOP tax plan will cause as much as a $1.8 billion cut to healthcare services – including hospital visits and nursing home care funded through Medicaid – as well as jeopardize the education of over 170,000 graduate students.
While Illinois families experience deep cuts under the bill, the wealthy will receive enormous tax breaks – including a $300 million cut for Governor Rauner who endorsed the plan days ago. Rep. Peter Roskam voted for a version of the GOP tax plan that passed in November and has been appointed to the conference committee that will work out the details of the final bill.
Nursing home worker Lashawnda Dixon dared Rauner and Roskam to explain their support of GOP tax scam at a town hall. Dion knew they couldn’t because the plan robs college education and healthcare from their constituents.
Lashanda Dixon, Alden Lincoln Park Nursing Home (read full text).
Kim Smith, a patient care tech at Northwestern Memorial Hospital talked about how GOP tax scam steals from her patients on Medicaid while giving $300 million in tax breaks to Governor Rauner. “This ain’t nothing but a robbery,” she said.
Kim Smith, a Patient Care Tech at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Graduate students at Loyola joined with healthcare and nursing home leaders to let Congressman Peter Roskam, Governor Rauner and the GOP know that they are paying attention. Jean Clifford, a PhD candidate in philosophy, described how the latest attacks on higher education increases the need for a union for graduate students.
On Tuesday, Clifford marched on Capitol Hill with grad students from all over the United States. In describing the action, she said that” [w]e showed up at Speaker Ryan’s office and refused to leave until we spoke with him. Because he would not speak with us, the Capitol Police arrested us.
Our message to GOP is simple: don’t fund tax cuts to corporations on the backs of students and workers.”
She was joined by Alec Stubbs, a fellow PhD candidate in philosophy. This tax bill is a major issue on the Loyola campus. Stubbs shared that the graduate student union held a rally on Monday where over 50 students, faculty and community members came together to demand that there be more transparency around this bill. He stated that
“this bill demonstrates how vulnerable higher education is and that the GOP is not going to listen to us unless we demand it.”
Graduate students & healthcare workers stood together today to oppose the #GOPTaxScam. They demanded that @PeterRoskam & @GovRauner put our education and healthcare before tax breaks for billionaires. #twill pic.twitter.com/EuQC2eppSd
— SEIU HCIIMK (@SEIUhciimk) December 6, 2017
Rep. Franks and Workers to Demand that Management Recognize the Rights –and Value– of African-American Workforce
FERGUSON, MO — As the Christian Care Home strike enters its sixth day, workers on the picket line will be joined tonight at 5PM by State Representative Bruce Franks, a vocal leader of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, for a press conference connecting the two struggles.
Rep. Franks and striking workers who took an active role in the police brutality protests in Ferguson and St. Louis, will demand that the rights of the largely African-American workforce of Christian Care Home be respected by the nursing facility’s ownership.
Many of the striking workers took place in the protests in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Tonight, they will join Rep. Franks to speak out about the connection between racist policing and unfair treatment on the job — and how both result in black and brown people being treated as second-class citizens.
WHAT: State Rep. Bruce Franks and community supporters, including faith leaders Darryl Commings, Korla Masters and Jon Stratton to join striking Christian Care workers to demand that the rights of the mostly African American workers be valued
WHEN and WHERE:
5:00 PM, WEDNESDAY, December 6, 2017
Christian Care Home
800 Chambers Rd. in Ferguson