1199SEIU Healthcare Worker East members, the nation’s largest healthcare union, has announced that thousands of its members, who comprise the nation’s largest healthcare union, will participate in a Day of Action at over 200 nursing homes across New York State. Per a news release, they are calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature “to work together to pass real nursing home reform that ensures nursing homes invest in resident care rather than profits. “More than 200 actions will take place across the state (see map, https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1cc4nXC4W7W4pr6ZLw2hHfMoeiKABtx1g&usp=sharing) with more than 15 taking place in Westchester County.
The union released the following additional information to New York media and have invited coverage at Cortlandt Manor Nursing Home from 2-4 p.m.: “Nursing home workers all over New York have been standing up and taking action in the name of change for their residents, their co-workers, and themselves,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU’s Nursing Home Division.
“They have dealt with so much over the last year, and they are standing together to demand the reforms that could have saved the lives of their residents and even their own colleagues. They are united and they are ready to keep up the fight until the industry makes the changes needed to prioritize resident care and the well-being of workers over profits.”
A Demand for Legislative Action
The widespread Day of Action is the latest in the union’s Invest in Quality Care campaign, launched last month to urge legislative action to reform New York’s nursing home system and ensure residents get the quality care they deserve. Ads are running across New York featuring workers and families of nursing home residents calling on the state to act now.
“Most days there are not enough CNAs to meet the needs of the 40 residents I care for,” said Debbie Ciavarra, an LPN for more than 30 years at Cortlandt Healthcare. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–nurses cannot do our jobs without CNAs. They are essential to the care program. Residents depend on their CNAs. It has been devastating for a year now, since the pandemic meant that families could not visit. And yet there is frequent turnover and a constant shortage of nursing assistants because to put it bluntly, their work is not valued by the owners. Ironic, since the “nursing” home could not operate without nurses and nurse assistants.” I’m telling Albany lawmakers that this needs to be fixed now!”
“Leaders in Albany have heard 1199SEIU workers’ call for reforms and have begun the process of passing key policies that would improve transparency and accountability, and ensure nursing home operators are making the investments necessary to provide the most vulnerable in New York with the quality care they deserve. With their action, nursing home caregivers are pressing to ensure that any reform enacted will actually improve conditions in the homes, by forcing operators to spend more on resident care and provide sufficient hours of hands-on care.
“Last week, the State Assembly passed a series of bills focused on improving transparency and accountability in nursing homes, including one requiring that operators invest a minimum of 70% of their overall revenue on resident care, including 40% on staffing, and another preventing owners with poor track records from purchasing additional homes. The State Senate has advanced similar legislation, and Governor Cuomo included nursing home reform policies in his 2021 budget proposal. 1199SEIU members across New York are calling on the Governor and Legislature to come together and finalize these urgently-needed reforms–including minimum hours of care for residents–as part of the State budget process.”