Nursing home workers secure wage increases amid coronavirus surge

As the coronavirus continues to surge in nursing homes across the United States, as well as in Canada, worker burnout and distress are at an all-time high. Staff retention was already an issue before the pandemic, and the chaos it has brought to these vulnerable facilities has turned it into an emergency.

To help offset some of this burden placed on essential health care workers, local unions are doing all they can to negotiate wage increases for their members, such as at Pennington Health Services in Thief River Falls, Minn.

The coronavirus has hit the nursing home once again, straining the already short staff. LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) there have been able to secure a 14.2 percent wage increase, and staff representative Michele Frederickson doesn’t plan on the work ending there.

“This is a band-aid, but it’s just one step in the right direction,” said Frederickson.

Workers at The Waterview Woods nursing home in Eveleth, Minn., were also able to secure a $2.00 increase for LPNs and RNs, an increase in differential, and an increase in health insurance coverage. The facility, like Pennington, has been struck hard by the coronavirus and short-staffing.

“We are striving to get on a path to retain and recruit staff,” Frederickson said. “In the long run, this will help relieve staff burnout and improve the care of our patients.”

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