Nursing home workers at Estates of Spanish Lake in St. Louis voted recently to organize with SEIU Healthcare Missouri, joining already unionized workers at Estates of St. Louis, a facility owned by the same management company, Medallion Healthcare Systems.
Ninety-four CNAs, dietary workers, and housekeeping staff comprise the bargaining unit, where workers reported going years without adequate raises or improvements to benefits. Workers see the negative impact that low wages and few benefits have on workplace turnover, which can lead to lower quality care for nursing home residents.
“It feels so good to know that we have gained a strong voice on the job by joining SEIU Healthcare Missouri,” said Sherise Penson, who works in laundry at Estates of Spanish Lake. “I’ve been trying to support my children off of $7.75/hour, and with back-to-school around the corner it’s very difficult. We will now have the power to negotiate fair wage increases and improved benefits through our union.”
Workers hope Medallion Healthcare will respect the federal right of employees to organize and the will of the majority. Prior to the election however, Medallion Healthcare disciplined two union supporters, including Ms. Penson, and then terminated two others on the election day. SEIU Healthcare Missouri believes these actions are illegal and is pursuing NLRB charges against the employer on behalf of all four. It will demand all employees be restored and that the two unfairly terminated CNAs be returned to work with back pay.
Members of SEIU Healthcare fight to raise standards at the workplace and within their industry by fighting for a $15 minimum wage, safe staffing, Medicaid expansion for access to high-quality healthcare regardless of one’s ability to pay, and to hold employers accountable to patients and frontline caregivers.
SEIU Healthcare Missouri represents 5,400 workers in the healthcare and home care industries across the state, and join 92,000 healthcare, home care, and child care workers already united in SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas who are committed to improving jobs and care to the people it serves.