Workers at Providence nursing home to strike on Friday
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Starting Friday morning workers represented by local union SEIU 1199 at the Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing will go on strike looking for raises and what they say are unsafe staffing levels.
“What we know that we need and have said over and over again, is we need safe staffing – 4.1 hours of care, and we need to be paying care takers a living wage,” said Adanjesus Marin of the union’s Lifelong Care Team.
According to Marin, residents at Bannister are getting less than half of the 4.1 hours of care recommended by the government.
The pandemic has also hit residents and workers at the center hard.
“They now have close to 20 deaths and workers have reached the point where they’re just not willing to continue to put themselves at risk and their residents at risk,” said Marin.
The general assembly has yet to pass a bill that would mandate minimum staffing at nursing homes in the state.
Rhode Island averaged 3.1 hours of care per resident in the last quarter of 2019 according
to non profit Long Term Care Community Coalition.
“If you are a resident in a nursing home like Bannister you have no guarantee of how many hours of care you or your loved one will receive in the day,” said Marin. “We don’t believe that’s right.”
Starting wages at the center are $12 an hour, which Marin says also keeps them from being able to hire and keep staffing levels up.
“Just today, management told us that they will never ever ever agree to staffing in their contract,” said Marin. “And we had to tell them that our members are clear that they’ll wait
In a statement a spokesperson for Bannister’s owner Centers Healthcare said they will continue to negotiate with workers.