Rockford nursing home workers reach contract agreement to avert Friday strike

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Nursing home workers at Alden Debes and 63 other long-term care facilities in Illinois have reached a tentative deal to avert a planned strike on Friday.

The workers were prepared to strike for hazard pay, paid time off, and for resources to guard their safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, union representatives reached an agreement for a 2-year contract which would raise baseline wages above $15 an hour; provide hazard pay for workers during the COVID-19 outbreak; give fully paid sick days for COVID-19 testing, illness and quarantine; and ensure that employees are not required to work without PPE.

“While residents are at increased risk of the virus due to age and compromised health,
workers face increased negative impacts from coronavirus due to their history of poverty wages, lack of paid time off, and the underlying health conditions that often accompany poverty,” the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said Thursday. “Additionally, a majority  of workers are African-American, and a disproportionate number of African-American lives have been claimed by COVID-19.”

The tentative agreement will need to be ratified by the larger workforce before it goes into effect.

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