Patients support their striking SEIU nursing care workers
Annette Delaney, 54, a travel escort at Ambassador Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Albany Park, leads a rally of striking Infinity Healthcare Management workers outside the Northwest Side facility, Nov. 23, 2020. Nearly 700 workers walked off the job at 11 Infinity facilities across the Chicago area, saying they won't return until the company offers them higher wages and safer working conditions. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times via AP

The following article is reprinted from the SEIU website.

CHICAGO – Doris Moore became a resident at Ambassador Nursing Home & Rehab Center almost two years ago after a suffering stroke. Workers at Ambassador are among the nearly 700 workers at 11 nursing homes owned by Infinity Health Care that made the difficult decision to go on the “Strike For Our Lives” 11 days ago on November 23rd. Workers on strike include Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, laundry & dietary workers. Since they’ve been on strike, Infinity has engaged in a number of illegal, unfair labor practices, including firing strike leaders.

Doris says she is extremely grateful to Ms. Dolores Johnson, a CNA, who helped her regain her ability to walk after her stroke.

Doris recently organized a petition, signed by 25 residents of Ambassador, entitled “We Are Family.” The petition asks management of the facility “Please bring [the workers] back, they are worth so much more than they’re asking.”

“Right now they could go work somewhere else for more money. Instead, they’re out on the strike line fighting to make this place better FOR US,” Doris says. “They came in day after day during this COVID outbreak. They deserve pandemic pay.”

Jennifer Neisler is a resident at Lakeview Rehab & Nursing Center. She has Spina Bifida and gets around with the help of a wheelchair.

David Puschmann, resident at Ambassador Nursing & Rehab Center supporting striking workers. | SEIU

“I don’t call them workers. I call them my family,” Jennifer said.  Jennifer’s message to Infinity: “I want my family back.”

George Willis has been living and doing rehabilitation at Niles Nursing and Rehab Center for the past two years. He is a double amputee and is the president of the resident council there.

“We value our housekeepers, the kitchen staff, everyone,” said George.  “Those are the heroes. They kept us safe. They kept the food coming. They kept this place clean.” “The residents miss the workers,” he added.

David Puschmann is a resident at Ambassador Nursing & Rehab Center. “I want my CNAs back,” he said.

Diane Passini’s son, Blaine Passini, is a resident of Parker Nursing and Rehab Center in Streator. Blaine suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after a four-wheeler accident.

“I think [the worker] deserve a heck of a lot more money. They need to get COVID pay. We pay a lot of money for Blaine to be there,” she said.

Doris Moore, resident at Ambassador Nursing Home & Rehab Center. | SEIU

Diminished Care

Even before the strike, residents say short-staffing has long been an issue. They support workers calls for higher staffing levels and say increased wages and pandemic pay will help keep and attract quality caregivers.

Since the strike began, and as Infinity has brought in temporary agency workers at higher pay rates and supplied them with catered meals, residents say care has diminished.

Doris normally gets care multiple times per day, including 9 PM, Midnight, and 5 AM. On the night of the strike those three care shifts were skipped (Monday night 11/23 & Tuesday morning 11/24).  The same shifts were skipped two days later (Wednesday night 11/25 & Thursday morning 11/26).

Jennifer says her care has been left in the hands of “a bunch of temporaries who don’t know our needs.” On Monday, she witnessed a fellow resident who had to wait three hours to get changed and fed.

Residents and family members have been clear. They want the workers – their family – to get a fair contract so they can be back on the job.


CONTRIBUTOR

SEIU
SEIU

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a union of about 2 million diverse members in healthcare, the public sector and property services who believe in and fight for our Vision for a Just Society: where all workers are valued, and all people respected—no matter where we come from or what color we are; where all families and communities can thrive; and where we leave a better and more equitable world for generations to come.

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