Nursing Home Workers to Hold Candlelight Vigils – Data Shows Nursing Home Workers Fear for Their Lives

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 17, 2020. 
For more information, contact: Anthony Caldwell at (877) 419-7348.

COLUMBUS, OHIO – On Thursday, June 18th, at 4:00pm nursing home workers across Ohio and in West Virginia will hold candlelight vigils in six cities to reflect on lives lost during the COVID19 pandemic and to demand that policy makers take action to protect nursing home workers and residents. Candlelight vigils will be held at the following locations:  

Cleveland City Hall
601 Lakeside Avenue East   
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Cincinnati City Hall
801 Plum Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Huntington City Hall
800 5th Avenue
Huntington, West Virginia 25701
Pomeroy Village Hall
660 East Main Street
Pomeroy, Ohio 45769
Toledo City Hall
640 Jackson Street
Toledo, Ohio 43604
Youngstown City Hall
26 South Phelps Street 
Youngstown, Ohio 44503

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has also released results of a national nursing home worker survey, revealing startling realities nursing home workers face on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data suggest that, unless the federal government does everything possible to expedite resources and relief to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, more Americans will tragically, needlessly die and any real recovery from this pandemic will be further delayed.

Topline results from SEIU’s national nursing home worker survey include: 

• Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said that if they could not work for two weeks due to coronavirus, they would have trouble paying for housing or food. 
• 
Nearly 80 percent of respondents feel their lives are at risk every day they go to work because they might be infected by the virus.
• 
80 percent of survey respondents said they do not feel the federal government is doing enough to ensure that there is enough PPE, free testing, paid sick days and other protections for nursing home workers in this pandemic.
• 
More than 75 percent of nursing home workers feel their employers are not doing enough to ensure that there is enough protective equipment, free testing and paid sick days and other protections.

According to recent estimates, one in three COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes. As the death toll continues to rise, nursing home workers across the country are sounding the alarm on the ways in which corporations and the Trump administration continue to fail to provide equipment, testing and essential support, thus putting the lives of working women and men, their families and communities at greater risk.  

“Though as a country we have hailed them as heroes during this crisis, these workers were never treated with the dignity they deserve. The results of this survey, which included many participants from across Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia, show that nursing home workers believe that their lives are at-risk and do not have the proper protective equipment,” said Anthony Caldwell, Public Affairs Director for SEIU District 1199. “Nursing home workers are standing together to demand improvements. We cannot allow low staffing ratios, poverty wages, and quality care issues to continue.” 

Seven in ten nursing home workers said their employers do not offer paid sick time if they have to self-quarantine for two weeks, six in ten said their employers do not provide paid sick days at all, and nearly 50 percent said their employers do not provide affordable healthcare. This lack of basic protections, paired with low wages, feeds a cycle of multi-generational poverty in our communities — a cycle that corporations and elected officials consistently choose to ignore.

Nursing home workers are joining together to end systemic racism, sexism, and corporate profiteering and demanding immediate, bold action to protect all workers and ensure the long-term health and recovery of all working people.

“At a time with national outrage over racial injustice, this survey shows the indifference that we face,” said Carol Ford, a health care worker in Cleveland and Member Vice President with SEIU District 1199. “We will not stop fighting until all nursing home workers — regardless of race — are treated with unconditional respect. Every nursing home worker and resident has an essential human right to live and to thrive. We need all political leaders to act to ensure safe staffing, fair wages, and the availability of personal protective equipment,” Ford concluded.

About the Survey
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Nursing Home Worker Survey was fielded May 20–June 7, 2020. The opt-in survey was conducted online in English and Spanish using the Wufoo form builder, and included a national sample of 2,397 nursing home workers living in the United States. The survey has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all respondents.
Click here for full survey results. 

Nursing Home COVID Fact Sheet 
A fact sheet that details lives lost due to COVID19 and positive cases among nursing home residents and staff can be found at this link

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