Hundreds of nursing home workers go on strike after negotiations stall

IRWIN, Pa. — Hundreds of nursing home workers across the state walked off the job Friday to demand fair pay amid contract negotiations.

While workers picketed outside, they said contracted agency workers and management were providing bedside care to patients.

Outside of the Grove in Irwin, workers were met with honks of support while picketing outside of the grove in Irwin Friday.

“We walked out together as a team and when this is all over, we’re going to walk back in there as a team, together,” CNA and chapter president Shannon McBride said.

Contract negotiations stalled after nursing home workers demanded better pay, better staffing and better bedside care.

Issues, worker said, were exasperated by the pandemic.

As many as 700 workers walked off the job from 14 nursing homes across the state today to send a message to corporate leaders.

“We lobbied in front of legislators and we won them money, and 70% has to go toward the bedside; so, we’re doing this not just for ourselves but for these residents, they deserve improvements,” McBride said.

“It’s been a mess. There’s been less staff, maybe if we have any staff there was only two of us, but everyone else is agency,” CNA Susie Wright said.

The Grove is one of a dozen Comprehensive Priority and Healthcare homes working without a contract since May.

These Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members said patient care is a priority to them, but so is fair pay in the health care field.

“We need higher wages. Our wages are poverty wages. We need them to come up with that and we need affordable health insurance. We work in the medical field, there’s no reason we should not have good medical insurance,” McBride said.

“We all stick together, we’re like family. One does one thing, we all stick together,” Wright added.

Union members said they will continue picketing until a deal is reached.

Channel 11 reached out to the administrators at the Grove and corporate owners but did not hear back.

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