Union Officials Threaten to Strike at 60 Nursing Homes Statewide
Officials of the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 3,500 nursing home employees in Northern California, said they are prepared to call for strikes at 60 nursing homes statewide if staffing and pay issues are not resolved, the Contra Costa Times reports. Sal Rosselli, president of the SEIU Local 250, said that union members at the 60 facilities had already authorized strikes, which would occur at individual homes depending on contract negotiations at each facility. Contracts at each of the homes have already expired or are set to expire on Thursday, according to union officials. Rosselli said that nursing homes need to increase staffing levels, raise salaries, improve working conditions and allocate more money for patient food and supplies. He called on the nursing home industry to "immediately" work with the union to improve patient conditions and implement staffing levels similar to those proposed in a bill (AB 1075) currently pending in the state Legislature. However, the nursing home industry said that the union's strike threat was "shortsighted" and would further aggravate a staffing shortage. Kelley Queale of the California Association of Health Facilities said, "A strike is not in the best interest in terms of quality care." She added that because nursing homes receive most of their funding from Medi-Cal, they are "caught in the middle" and "possess no way to meet union demands without further state aid" (Peele, Contra Costa Times, 5/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.