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Pennsylvania nursing home employees prepare for upcoming strike

The strikes will impact 14 nursing homes across the Commonwealth, including two in Harrisburg and one in Lancaster.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — After months of negotiating, nursing home employees across Pennsylvania are set to go on strike Sept. 2.

The strikes will impact 14 nursing homes across the Commonwealth, including three in South Central Pa; Meadows at West Shore and Meadows at Blue Ridge in Harrisburg and Rose City Health and Rehab in Lancaster are preparing for the strike.

“Since COVID, nursing home workers do the most dangerous job in the country," Matt Yarnell, the president of SEIU Healthcare of Pennsylvania told FOX43. 

Yarnell says the union is working to ensure $600 million in state funding is invested towards improving job standards and addressing the staffing shortage at nursing homes. 

“Our members are fighting for $16 an hour minimum wage for all the ancillary folks working at nursing homes," Yarnell said. "For nursing aides, we’re fighting for $20 an hour, and for LNPs (licensed practical nurses), $25. Two is health insurance; this is a workforce who really can’t afford to cover their families.”

However, an agreement with Comprehensive Healthcare and Priority Healthcare has yet to be reached, leading union leaders to accuse the companies of negotiating in bad faith. 

“We know that our providers have the resources to treat these employees the way they deserve to be treated and they’re making a conscious decision not to do it," Yarnell said. 

In a statement, SEIU Healthcare of Pennsylvania says that no health care worker wants to strike, however, they say they want to be provided more resources and give nursing home residents better care. 

“We’ve come so far and gotten so much to line up the resources," Yarnell said. "Now it’s time to get those resources to the bedside.”

The union has reached an agreement with Guardian Healthcare; the company had 10 other nursing homes that were set to join the striking efforts.

Facility managers say they have "contingency plans in place to avoid any disruption in care to residents."

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