“I help keep our residents fed and cared for. My passion for taking care of people has helped me get through some of our toughest days, but nursing home workers need support,” said Angela Davenport, dietary aide of 20 years and member of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. “The pandemic is still here and nursing homes are constantly short staffed because of poverty wages and unsafe working conditions. Even though we are essential and have put our lives on the line, support staff like me haven’t seen a raise. We were left out last March when the state passed pandemic pay for direct care workers in nursing homes and now that raise could expire. This is a critical moment to keep workers in this field, not risk driving more away by cutting pay. The legislature needs to take action to address the crisis in nursing homes. We’re calling on them to renew the pandemic pay of $2.25 an hour and make sure it includes every nursing home worker this time.”
“We are facing a serious care worker staffing crisis across the state, which demands a major investment. Half of our nursing home workers–those who work in dietary, laundry, housekeeping, and other support roles–didn’t receive pandemic pay last year,” said SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Andrea Acevedo. “Those positions are some of the most underpaid and poorly staffed in the state. The chronic short-staffing means workers are running themselves to exhaustion, creating even more burnout and turnover and hurting the quality of care for residents. Our nursing home residents deserve clean facilities, fresh laundry, and healthy nutrition.The best way to ensure quality care for all residents is to make sure ALL nursing home workers have safe working conditions with safe staffing and fair pay. Expanding pandemic pay to all workers in long-term care facilities is the minimum respect that these workers deserve.”
As Michigan lawmakers near a budget deal, nursing home workers are demanding pandemic pay raises for ALL essential, frontline workers in long-term facilities across the state.
In March, state lawmakers took an important step, enacting pandemic pay of $2.25 an hour for “direct care” workers in nursing homes. But the raise is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2021. To date, that raise reached some nursing home workers but has excluded others, including the cleaning and kitchen staff that feed and clean up after residents, including COVID-19 patients.
Nursing home workers across Michigan are calling to be respected, protected, and paid, as the pandemic drags on and the crisis in Michigan’s nursing home worsens. They’re demanding additional consideration and support for residents and workers alike, including renewing and expanding the $2.25/hr pandemic pay for these essential frontline workers.
Nursing home workers and residents have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Michigan’s nursing homes were in crisis before COVID-19, with low wages, unsafe working conditions and short staffing that overburdened workers and underserved residents. Essential nursing home workers in all roles have unnecessarily gotten sick and even died from COVID-19 contracted on the job. Now, with the additional trauma of the last year and a half, many skilled workers are leaving nursing homes.