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PA nursing home workers want $15 minimum wage

March 18, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Pennsylvania nursing home workers want a mimimum wage of at least $15 an hour.

Current contracts for nearly 7,000 members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania are set to expire at the end of March. SEIU officials say they want fair wages, affordable healthcare and improved staffing for their members: certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, dietary workers, housekeeping and other hourly workers.

Mat Yarnell, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania executive vice president of long-term care, told The Beaver County Times  the union will do “everything we can to reach agreements,” including rallying and striking.

Pennsylvania nursing homes generated $407 million in profits in 2014, up from $370 million in 2013. Two-thirds of nursing home residents are on Medicaid, and the cost of care exceeds Medicaid payments by an average of $23 a day, according to a statement by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. Skilled nursing facilities have seen operating margins fall more than 60 percent between 2007 and 2012

Nearly 15,000 of the industry workers must rely on public assistance to make ends meet, according to findings from the Keystone Research Center. Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania nursing home workers surveyed said they cannot support their families on the wages they earn.