SUNNYSIDE, Wash. – Nov. 13 – Dozens of nursing home workers picketed November 13 outside a Sunnyside nursing home calling for respect for workers so they may provide the best care for residents.
Nursing home workers in the region have been battling nursing home operators for months. Workers in Union Gap went days without pay; they filed successful lawsuits for unpaid vacation time; and now workers are bargaining with the current owners, Prestige Healthcare LLC, for workplace respect and dignity.
“We are working at nearly poverty wages to care for the most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities,” said Celia “Sally” Salinas, of Sunnyside. She’s a Prestige Care & Rehabilitation Sunnyside worker and a member of SEIU Healthcare 775NW. “It’s time for Prestige to show workers dignity and respect; what everyone would expect for the care of these residents and the people who provide the care.”
Workers have been in negotiations with Prestige Care Inc., which owns and operates more than a dozen nursing homes in Washington.
Many of these same Tri-Cities and Yakima workers lost wages and healthcare at the same time Prestige took responsibility for these facilities late last year from Eagle Healthcare. Union members in February filed suit against Eagle Healthcare and former owner Jeff Marshall seeking unpaid vacation time and damages. On Friday, a King County court ordered both defendants to pay workers back wages and vacation time, plus interest and attorneys fees.
The Federal government also agreed to hear a series of legal charges made by union caregivers against Prestige. The National Labor Relations Board will be holding a hearing on the charges scheduled for Dec. 17 in Richland.