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Nursing home workers give strike notice

Workers at 40 nursing homes gave notice to their employers Monday that they plan to strike May 8 if their demands aren’t met.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois
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Workers at 40 nursing homes — mostly in the Chicago area — announced Monday they’d voted to go on strike May 8 if a list of demands related to working under coronavirus crisis conditions aren’t met.

Several of their chief demands: an additional 10 sick days, 50% hazard pay and $15 minimum wage ($16 for certified nursing assistants). The workers are members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. SEIU Healthcare is an investor in Sun-Times Media.

The workers are calling for a short-term 1 year contract. Their current contract expires May 1.

Nursing home owners have refused to provide improved personal protective equipment and enhanced safety protocols, they say.

“We have issued strike notices to 40 nursing homes,” Greg Kelley President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday. “Workers are frustrated, angry and anxious. The issues at nursing homes have been growing for years: staffing, personal protective equipment, wages — COVID-19 has exposed them and made them worse.”

The workers are negotiating with the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities to hammer out a new contract.

“Our members are on the front-line and feel like they’re not being heard by owners,” Kelley said.

There have been 625 coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois among people who live and work in nursing homes, state health officials announced last week.