Kevin Lignell, kevin.lignell@
STRIKE FOR BLACK LIVES: SEIU ANNOUNCES STRIKE OF METRO DETROIT NURSING HOMES ON JULY 20TH
As part of a national Strike for Black Lives, SEIU Healthcare Michigan will strike six homes in metro Detroit to demand nursing home owners address the institutional racism that keeps essential workers in poverty
DETROIT, MICHIGAN — SEIU nursing home workers have announced plans to strike 6 metro Detroit nursing homes on July 20th as part of a national Strike for Black Lives. The strike will feature hundreds of workers from Hartford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Lodge at Taylor, Regency at Taylor, Villa at Great Lakes Crossing, Villa at City Center, and Regency at St. Claire Shores. The strike will culminate with an action at Hartford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Detroit at 2pm.
More than 50,000 nursing home residents and workers across the country have died from COVID-19, and over 1900 have died in Michigan alone. Out of the 45 nursing homes in Michigan that have reported the most deaths linked to COVID-19, nearly half — 22 — have been cited by state inspectors in the last four months according to a Detroit News review of hundreds of pages of state records.
“Here in Detroit, us nursing home workers are at the center of the COVID-19 crisis. We’re putting our lives on the line every single day without proper PPE, paid sick days or fully-paid testing because facility owners treat us as disposable, not essential,” said Trece Andrews, a nursing home worker at Regency at St. Claire Shores, “Thousands of workers and residents have needlessly lost their lives. I’ve seen firsthand how this virus is devastating the Black community, exposing the systemic racism that has always existed. That’s why I’m going on Strike for Black Lives: to demand greater protections for my coworkers, our residents and working people across the nation.”
Worker demands include safety protections such as PPE, a $15 minimum wage for all service workers and an $18 wage for CNAs, an end to mandatory overtime and short-staffing, and improved benefits such as healthcare and paid sick leave.
“I am striking for better working conditions across the board” said Robert Ruff, a CNA at Regency at Taylor, “Conditions at some of the nursing home are not the best – they could do much better.”
SEIU has been working to negotiate dozens of contracts with nursing homes in metro Detroit, including those owned by for-profit chains Ciena and Villa. In total, SEIU represents 66 nursing homes and over 6,000 nursing home workers in Michigan.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including more than 75,000 nursing home workers. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.
The Strike for Black Lives will feature tens of thousands of workers taking action one month ahead of the Democratic National Convention to declare that Black Lives Matter and illustrate all the ways fights for racial, economic, healthcare, immigration, climate and other justice fights are connected. Strike for Black Lives across the U.S. will include, but aren’t limited to:
Strikes by fast-food, nursing home and other service and care workers
Walk-offs at noon local time for 8 minutes and 46 seconds
Protests by community allies and workers across industries
Live, online convenings of workers sharing testimony and demands
Voter registration and outreach and census education as part of actions across the U.S.