PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Caregivers at five Rhode Island nursing home facilities planned a strike for next week but ultimately decided to postpone.
Workers at Charlesgate Nursing Center, Bannister House, Genesis Pawtucket Nursing Center, Hopkins Manor, and Genesis Greenville agreed to halt their plan for Aug. 5 after Gov. Gina Raimondo pledged to find a solution for safer staffing.
“My office is fully committed to working with the Legislature and the leadership of SEIU District 1199 to reach a fair resolution of the staffing issues you have raised and to develop a minimum staffing standard,” Raimondo wrote in a letter Thursday.
Read: Raimondo’s full letter »
Caregivers, according to the union, submitted contract proposals more than a year ago that would create safe staffing standards of 4.1 direct-care hours, wage boosts, affordable healthcare and training opportunities.
“For years, caregivers, seniors and family members have been calling for an end to the deadly status quo in nursing homes and we are glad Governor Raimondo has taken an important step toward ending the short-staffing crisis,” said Adanjesus Marin, lead organizer of SEIU 1199NE. “The legislature and state government have the power to fix this tomorrow.”
Raimondo wrote how disappointed she was that the General Assembly did not pass legislation to establish minimum staffing levels in Rhode Island and she understands caregivers’ frustration.
The governor also reminded staff workers how this is a difficult time for a strike in nursing homes, given the vulnerability of residents to the virus.
“I want to personally thank the women and men of SEIU Healthcare 1199NE for your heroic efforts caring for Rhode Island nursing home residents under extremely challenging conditions,” Raimondo wrote. “Your dedication to ensuring Rhode Island’s most at-risk population receives the care they need and deserve during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of inspiring.”