This has been one of the hardest years in Danielle Fox’s life as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said a new contract is making it even harder.
“Amongst the pandemic, the last thing we thought we would have to fight for is a contract,” Fox said.
Fox organized a protest on Monday with other workers from Hearthside Rehab & Nursing Center in State College to fight the new contract put in place in November by the facility’s new owner, Embassy Healthcare. Workers said it increases their health insurance costs by 60%.
Fox believes a lot of employees will leave their jobs under the new contract and worries this could negatively impact nursing home residents.
“We don’t want anyone else taking care of these people but us. We’re fighting for our residents as much as we are for ourselves,” Fox said.
Workers want the new contract to include wage increases and affordable healthcare. They want more protections at the state level as well.
Workers at Park Avenue Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Crawford County, Hillsdale Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Indiana County and Woodland Park Rehab Center in Huntingdon County are also a part of contract negotiations.
The Service Employees International Union will meet with Embassy on Thursday to discuss the contract further.