New CMS data shows the potential for further PPE shortages and the ongoing crisis within long-term care facilities in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and across the United States. Union workers and nursing home advocates share their concerns as the COVID19 pandemic continues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Contact: Anthony Caldwell at (330) 651-2042
COLUMBUS, OHIO – New data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services highlights shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies held by nursing homes across Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The newly released data, which has been reviewed by the American Health Care Association, shows that many nursing home facilities do not have a one-week supply of essential personal protective equipment items, such as N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns.
“It’s important that nursing home workers have access to personal protective equipment so that they can protect themselves and the residents at the facilities where they work. If nursing home workers contract COVID19 due to shortages or improper PPE, that can put many nursing home workers and residents at-risk and potentially cause further outbreaks,” said Anthony Caldwell, Director of Public Affairs with SEIU District 1199.
As detailed by the American Health Care Association, the CMS data, which was released on July 30th shows the following:
• In Ohio, 15% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 6% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 9% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
• In West Virginia, 34% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 32% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 33% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
• In Kentucky, 10% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 13% do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 10% do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
In June 2020, a survey by SEIU International, which included members of SEIU District 1199 in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, showed that over 76% of nursing home workers nationwide believe that not enough is being done to ensure access to personal protective equipment. Furthermore, two health care experts recently concluded in the Washington Post on July 28th that nursing home workers now have the most dangerous job in America due to the COVID19 pandemic.
“Nursing home workers put in long hours for low-wages,” said Sheila Hunter, a nursing home worker and member of SEIU District 1199 in Cleveland. “Without the proper protective equipment, nursing home workers aren’t able to protect themselves or the residents that they care for,” Sheila Hunter concluded.
“Even with the proper PPE, health care workers are still at high-risk,” continued Caldwell. “It is possible that the pandemic could worsen and it is certain to continue this fall and winter. Nursing home workers are calling on actors from all levels of government, nursing home operators, and private industry, to work together to ensure that these vital supplies are available,” Caldwell concluded.
● Member With Youngstown Nursing Home Wins Settlement. A member who worked for a nursing home for over 12 years was terminated. The member contacted the Union, which maintained that this was entirely unreasonable given that the member had only one active disciplinary issue and that this new infraction was common in the workplace. Through the grievance process and working with the Union, the member was able to secure a settlement of $1,000, an agreement by the employer not to contest their application for unemployment compensation, and a neutral reference.
● Bellefaire JCB Members Stand Together For Safety. Members with Bellefaire JCB, a service provider in Cleveland, have been standing together as Union members and co-workers to ensure workplace safety in relation to the current pandemic. Through their Union, these members negotiated a settlement under which Bellefaire JCB will make several important safety improvements, such as re-configuring workspaces.
● Nurse at Northeast Ohio Hospital Secures Back Pay. An RN worked weekends as a PRN but contacted the Union after realizing that she was not being paid the $5.50 an hour premium pay that was negotiated by members in their contract. The employer agreed to pay her $1,000 for the hours she had worked without full compensation. Additionally, the employer agreed to ensure that all similarly situated PRN nurses would be compensated.
● ResCare Member in West Virginia Returns to Work. A member in West Virginia with a group home in Greenbrier County filed a grievance and as a result, an unjust dismissal was overturned. The member then returned to their same workplace, shift, and pay rate. The member was also issued back pay covering three weeks of work that were missed due to the dismissal.
● Southern Ohio Hospital Member Maintains Proper Status After Filing Grievance. A member had applied for a PRN position but was denied. The member had further inquired about working PRN but was told that no positions were available. Suddenly, many months later, the member was told that they were being moved to PRN status but the member no longer wanted or had an application active for such status. Working with the Union, the member was able to maintain their full-time job status.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
The nomination process for the Social Justice Steering Committee has now closed. A listing with all candidates can be found at this link.
All members in good standing, including retiree chapter members, are encouraged to participate and attend the bi-annual Social Justice Activist meetings. If you have questions, please contact me at (216) 246-8772.
Samara Knight – Executive Vice President
Civic Engagement and Community Outreach
Nursing Home Workers With Menorah Park to Hold Candlelight Vigil – Speak Out About Working in the COVID19 Pandemic and Call for Hazard Pay for all Nursing Home Workers.
Nursing home workers call working in the pandemic distressing and urge nursing home administrators at Menorah Park and all nursing homes to provide hazard pay and protect all workers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Contact: Samara Knight at 877-419-7348
CLEVELAND, OHIO – On Wednesday, July 29th, union workers with Menorah Park, a long-term care facility, located in Beachwood, Ohio, will hold a candlelight vigil at 3:00 PM. The workers with the facility will honor nursing home residents, their coworkers, and nursing home workers across the area. In addition to speaking out about their experiences, they will call for hazard pay for all nursing home workers.
When: Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 PM
What: Candlelight Vigil at Menorah Park
Who: Nursing Home Workers Providing Health Care and Services in the Pandemic
Where: On Cedar Road in Front of Menorah Park (27100 Cedar Road)
“The workers at Menorah Park and across Cleveland have continued working, no matter what the risk or how difficult the circumstances,” said Samara Knight, Executive Vice President with SEIU District 1199. “They care deeply about their work but they also worry about their families.”
The workers will gather starting at 2:00 pm and the vigil will be held at 3:00 pm. Union workers from Montefiore, a nearby facility that recently merged with Menorah Park, will also join for the vigil to stand with their colleagues. In the last few months, though the number of bargaining unit members is not certain, Ohio Department of Health data shows that 16 staff members at the Menorah Park campus have contracted COVID19.
“They are standing together to speak out about their experiences. These workers had incredibly difficult jobs before this pandemic. All workers deserve hazard pay in this time of crisis. Despite the importance of their work, nursing home workers have always been under appreciated,” concluded Knight.
It has been two months since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act. Working people have been waiting for relief in this crisis. With inaction from U.S. Senate Republicans, pandemic related unemployment assistance is set to expire on July 31st.
The U.S. Senate Republican proposal is not the rescue package that is needed. That’s why I am encouraging you to call 844-944-1556. When you are connected, ask your U.S. Senator to pass a strong economic relief bill that includes the important measures found within the Heroes Act. Tell your U.S. Senator that pandemic unemployment assistance must be extended.
Workers across Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, have been providing vital services and support in this crisis. Many families have felt the economic distress caused by this pandemic firsthand. It is more important than ever that workers make their voices heard. Together, we will continue to speak out for relief for all working families.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
An Advanced Grievance Chair Training will be held this August in Columbus. The training is a great resource and will help members develop the knowledge and tools needed to fight back and win at work.
The Advanced Grievance Chair Training is designed for Grievance Chairs, Delegates and Executive Board Members, who have taken the Basic Grievance Chair Training. Face coverings or masks will be required. Social distancing guidelines will be applied. The meeting space will be sanitized.
Location: SEIU District 1199 Office at 1395 Dublin Road in Columbus, Ohio.
Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Time: 10:00am – 4:30pm
Please bring a copy of your union contract. Contact your administrative organizer for lost time eligibility. Register online with the form on this page or with your organizer by phone or email. We are stronger together.
Strike for Black Lives in Cleveland on July 20th
What we look like or where we live shouldn’t determine whether or not we can live healthy and whole lives. The pandemic changed our lives and deepened the divides that have always plagued us. Millions have lost their jobs. Millions more are forced to pick between their lives and their livelihoods. Too many of us lack healthcare in the face of a deadly virus. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It is time for our employers to PROTECT ALL WORKERS!
– WHO –
SEIU/1199 Members, Families, & Supporters
– WHAT –
Informational picket by frontline healthcare heroes in support of workers’ rights and racial justice.
We will take a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in solidarity with workers across the country fighting against anti-black racism and to honor those workers – Black, white, and brown – who put their lives on the line every day to provide care to our seniors and people with disabilities.
– WHEN –
July 20th at 2:30pm
Meet us at the SEIU District 1199 Union Hall. We will march to Shaker Square (right next to the office) in solidarity with our Union brothers and sisters from across the country and we will take a knee in honor of George Floyd.
– WHERE –
SEIU District 1199 Union Hall
13000 Shaker Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44120
Members with SEIU District 1199 now have more options for free college programs. Members and their eligible family members can utilize programs with Eastern Gateway Community College and Central State University, which are both a part of the State of Ohio’s higher education system. There’s no cost for tuition, fees, or e-books. These programs are available anywhere and are regionally accredited
Once a student has 60 credit hours, they can transfer to Central State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in the degree programs listed. This benefit is open to members in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.
There will be three informational sessions over Zoom for members with SEIU District 1199 in coordination with Eastern Gateway Community College. We have heard from many members that this program may be especially beneficial now.
Though we can’t ensure that you will be able to register in time, if you are not a member of SEIU District 1199, you can sign a membership card online. Eastern Gateway Community College has offered guidance that furloughed or laid off union members and their families are also eligible.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Members with Oak Pavilion have worked heroically in the current pandemic to provide quality care for residents under difficult circumstances. In recent contract negotiations, members with this facility stood together – black, white, brown, and Asian – to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
The new contract includes the following terms:
Wages. The new contract includes 2.5% wage increases for each of the next three years. Members also negotiated a new $0.50 shift differential for laundry workers, housekeeping, dietary staff, and activity aides.
Discrimination. Members were able to add non-discrimination language in areas that include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sick Time. Members negotiated improved language in the area of sick leave, including the provision of additional time.
Bulletin Board. One priority for members was the proper placement of the Union bulletin board. The bulletin board will be moved back next to the time clock.
Representation. Union orientation time has been increased to one hour. Additionally, new language will assist with keeping the chapter strong and the provision of representation through the Member Resource Center.
Members of this facility will continue to stand together for safety and quality care as co-workers and union members.
Members with Signature of Galion recently stood together across all differences to negotiate a strong new contract agreement with no concessions. Members with this facility work as a team every day to provide the best possible care. Improvements were made in areas such as wages, workplace protections, and mandation.
The new contract includes the following terms:
Wages. The contract includes automatic annual wage increases for each of the next three years. Start rate increases will immediately lift wages for some workers. A new experience scale will also raise wages after taking into account experience.
Discrimination. New expanded discrimination language will protect workers in the area of sexual orientation.
Perfect Attendance Bonus. A bonus for perfect attendance will now include $125 for full time workers and $60 for part time workers.
Mandation. Language in this area has improved and workers will also not be subject to mandation if they had perfect attendance in the prior pay period.
Uniform Reimbursement. Members can now use their uniform reimbursement dollars anywhere within certain parameters, instead of with the employers vendor.
Representation. The contract includes new language that will enable the provision of enhanced representation through the Member Resource Center.
As union members, these nursing home workers were able to speak out for the changes they needed for themselves and their families. We are stronger together.
Members with Morrison Community Living at Judson recently stood together to bargain a new contract agreement. As Union members from different backgrounds, the bargaining committee spoke out and came together in unity for improved wages and working conditions.
The new contract includes the following new terms:
• Social Justice. Against the national backdrop of everyday people speaking out about inequity, members negotiated having Juneteenth, a day which marks the end of slavery, as a paid holiday.
• Religious Observance. Members negotiated the ability to have alternative days for religious observances, in place of listed holidays.
• Wages. Members negotiated a 11% wage increase over the three year agreement, which will improve wages for all bargaining unit employees. Shift differentials were also increased.
• Longevity. Many members with this chapter have worked at Judson facilities for a significant period of time. The bargaining committee negotiated increased longevity bonuses on anniversary milestones (10th, 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries). Additionally, new anniversary milestone have been added (5th, 30th, and 40th year anniversaries).
• PTO Cashout. Members were able to increase the amount of PTO time that can be cashed out under certain timelines and circumstances.
• Perfect Attendance Bonus. Members who have perfect attendance will now receive $200 semi-annually, instead of $100, which was in place previously.
• Attendance. Attendance and work performance issues will now be evaluated on two separate tracks. Additionally, physician’s notes will be accepted in regards to attendance without points. Language was also further improved in this area with new language and an additional step.
• Bereavement. Three immediate types of family members were added in the area of paid bereavement leave. Two additional days were also added when bereavement requires travel over 100 miles.
• Representation. Contract language was improved in areas that include union recognition, representation, the Member Resource Center, and seniority.
Members with Morrison Community Living work together as a team to provide quality services on behalf of Judson residents. Together, we rise.