Bed bugs, standing water and union busting

SEIU Healthcare workers strike for a fair contract, better working conditions at Hillside Manor Rehab and Healthcare Center


SEIU HEALTHCARE workers at Hillside Manor Healthcare and Rehab Center staged a one-day strike on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 16, to draw attention to the union-busting and deteriorating conditions at the Baden neighborhood nursing home owned by Luxor Healthcare LLC. – Labor Tribune photo

Workers at Hillside Manor Healthcare and Rehab held a one-day strike outside the building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 16, calling for better wages, more paid time off, and improved conditions in the facility.

“We’re here today to let them know that we want more money and we deserve more money,” said Gabrielle Love, a certified med tech and certified nursing assistant. “Workers are doing everything we can to provide quality care for our residents. But our conditions are changing. There are leaks all over the nursing home, sewage backs up into the sink in residents’ rooms. Every day when I walk into Hillside, one of the first things I do is put my coat in a trash bag because the beds and curtains are filled with bed bugs.

“The residents are being bit and no one will do anything about it,” Love said. “They’re not doing anything. They don’t want to put any money into the building. They don’t want to put any money toward the residents. They don’t want to give workers more money. There is nothing dignified about the conditions we work in, or that our residents are living in.”

The workers, represented by SEIU Healthcare Missouri, said the problems at the facility began a year ago, when Hillside Manor was sold to Luxor Healthcare LLC in New Jersey.

“Luxor Corporation purchased this nursing home back in November of 2021. Workers went through this miserable pandemic and then come into a situation with a new employer who’s making the situation even worse,” said Lenny Jones, vice president of SEIU Healthcare Missouri.

In the year since buying the facility, Jones said Luxor has:

  • Refused to recognize the union contract negotiated between SEIU Healthcare and the former owners.
  • Stripped workers’ wages.
  • Taken away paid time-off, holidays and other benefits negotiated with the union.
  • Fired four stewards who were union leaders in the building.
  • Proposed stripping the workers’ union security clause and dues deduction.

“They told workers they didn’t have a union anymore,” Jones said. “They refuse to recognize the collective bargaining agreement that had been negotiated. They’ve just tried to destroy everything. They fired the four leaders of the union as soon as they came in. They stripped workers’ wages when they came in. They did not respect the vacations and holidays and other benefits that they had negotiated. And in the last year of trying to bargain with this company, their only offer on wages was that they would agree to raise the lowest paid workers at $12 an hour” – the state’s current minimum wage.

Jones said the goal of the one-day strike was to highlight the injustice of the new ownership and send a message to Luxor that they need to respect the rights of the workers and their union.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas represents 90,000 workers across the four states in nursing homes, hospitals, home care and child care.

Danielle Jackson, a CNA at Hillside for approximately a year said, “What I’ve seen and heard and experienced in the past year has been terrible. But it didn’t start that way. When I started at Hillside, we had a different owner working for supporting residents and workers. The nursing home itself was cleaned and cared for. But from the moment Luxor took over everything has changed.”

Jackson said managers were let go and replaced with family and friends, workers were provided with fewer supplies needed to do their jobs and patient care in the deteriorating facility has suffered.

“In the past year, my union sisters and brothers have been waving flags and asking for help and the support we need,” Jackson said. “We’ve been using every tool we have, but they don’t listen, they ignore us. And we’re not going to take it anymore.”

Francine Turner-Minor has distributed medicine to residents at the nursing home for nearly 43 years.

“We need the company to feel our pain and our hurt, to recognize our strength,” she said, fighting back tears. “This is these residents’ homes. We are their family. These residents are our family.”

Workers were joined on the strike line by fellow union members, faith leaders and politicians, including St. Louis Board of Alderman President Megan Green and Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia (Ward 6) who announced the formation of a special committee on long-term healthcare to address issues like those at Hillside and other facilities and hold those responsible accountable.

“We’ve heard some horrendous stories today. Absolutely horrendous,” Green said. “We will continue to stand with you for however long it takes. We will be having hearings. We will bring folks from these nursing homes in front of our board and make them go on the record about the decisions they are making or not making, because that is what accountability is.”



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