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After 8 days on strike, nursing home workers return to their jobs with immediate wage increases

Redford, MI— After 8 days of striking, nursing home workers at The Orchards at Redford are returning to work with a tentative agreement to raise wages for over 60 Union workers at the facility.  SEIU represents certified nursing assistants (CNAs), resident assistants, dietary, housekeeping, and laundry workers. 

The contract includes wage increases across the board, including up to 34% for lowest-paid workers and 20% for CNAs; SEIU’s work to restructure CNA wages by years of experience is a standard that the Union wants to implement for the nursing home entire industry. It also includes contract language that improves union protections for workers. 

“We are proud of how our Union stood up for ourselves and our residents to win a contract that pays and respects us. We shined a light on the low wages and short staffing we experience in our building. With our contract secure, we can now we can get back to what we love – providing the care our residents desperately need,” said Kimberly Ford, CNA at the Orchards at Redford. 

SEIU hosted a rally on Friday, June 16th, highlighting the ongoing staffing crisis in Michigan’s nursing home industry that impacts resident care. Workers were joined by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, State Senator Mary Cavanagh, State Representative Laurie Pohutsky, Redford Township Supervisor Pat McRae, State Representative Donavan McKinney, State Senator Rosemary Bayer, and State Representative Stephanie A. Young.

Following the rally, negotiations between SEIU and Orchards intensified and the two sides were able to come to a deal on June 20th. 

“When we stand together and take action, we can achieve incredible victories for nursing home workers everywhere. After taking our fight to the strike line, we were finally able to see movement at the bargaining table. To my fellow Union members still fighting for a contract, I hope others can use our experience as inspiration to keep fighting and never back down until you get what you deserve!” said Charles Carroll, Dietary worker at the Orchards at Redford. 

SEIU and Orchards have agreed that all striking workers will return to their jobs by Friday, June 23rd. The Union is working to schedule a date to ratify the contract. 

Nursing Home Workers Rising Background

Following decades of failure to protect workers and residents alike, the pandemic exacerbated the existing industry challenges. During their strike, Orchards workers raised the alarm around poverty wages that drive greater burn-out and called for their employer to invest in them. 

In February, over 1,000 Michigan nursing home workers from 13 facilities owned by Ciena, Amee Patel, Orchard, Optalis, and Pioneer announced their escalation of contract campaigns to demand living wages, affordable healthcare, and safe staffing. Of the original 13 nursing homes in the announcement, all but one have negotiated new contracts.