Chicago-Area Nursing Home Workers Ask For New Contract and Agree To ‘Tentatively’ End Strike
Much like hospital staff, Illinois nursing home employees have been working under complicated circumstances as the coronavirus continues to spread. So, it comes with no surprise that after requests for a safer workplace had stalled since June, an estimated 700 care workers from Infinity Healthcare Management walked off the job in late November, prompting a 12-day strike. The employees, who have been facing extreme workplace challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the greater Chicago-area, say they deserve significant wage increases equal to other nursing homes. The workers asked for a $2 an hour bump in pay and COVID hazard pay for all employees working at a facility with positive residents without attendance requirements, and also a guarantee for tools and resources such as personal protection equipment (PPE).
The nursing home workers and SEIU Healthcare Illinois union leaders announced on Friday, December 4th, that they had reached a possible agreement with Infinity leaders. The new ‘tentative’ agreement, according to SEIU, calls for a new three-year contract which includes:
- Significant wage increases
- Pandemic pay to increase from $2 to $2.50 an hour and secured for all workers who work in areas that either have verified cases of COVID-19 or areas with residents under observation for COVID for as long as COVID-19 is present in a facility
- Workers will gain an additional five days of COVID-19-related sick time
- Workers also won significant PPE guarantees and protections
- Workers will earn annual raises in year two and three of the contact
Infinity executives received $12.7 million in funding from the federal CARES Act in July. Soon after, The Washington Post report analyzed more than 2,000 groups like Infinity and suggested that for-profit owners of large nursing home chains were mostly the recipients, many with the most shameful and damaging quality care ratings. Although The Post could not independently verify how the relief payments were spent, elder care advocates say the federal money was instead used to pad personal pocketbooks rather than on supporting frontline workers and resident needs during such a disastrous time.
Lower pay and exhausted working conditions naturally result in fewer capable workers and an increased risk of sickness and irreversible injuries to residents. Better pay, more staff, and access to resources raises standards for all nursing home workers, and as a result, supports the level of care residents and their families expect while improving the lives of our most vulnerable populations. According to a 2018-2019 report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, as much as 90% of U.S. facilities are operating understaffed. The findings were documented by evidence through payroll records that showed nursing homes were underreporting staffing challenges.
List of Infinity Health Facilities in the Greater Chicago Area
As Chicago’s leading nursing home abuse and neglect law firm, Levin & Perconti attorneys know all too well of Infinity’s history of lacking the protection, resources, support, and sustainable pay to its direct care workers. These failures have too often left them from being able to do their job safely and effectively. We support employees who seek working conditions that allow them to protect residents’ rights and access to the critical care and rehabilitation they deserve.
Infinity operates 14 nursing and rehabilitation centers, predominantly located throughout the greater Chicagoland area, including:
Ambassador Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
4900 N. Bernard Street
Chicago, Illinois 60625
- Bellhaven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
11401 South Oakley Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60643
5825 West Cermark Road
Cicero, Illinois 60804
- Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
5336 North Western Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
- Forest View Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
535 South Elm
Itasca, Illinois 60143
- Lakeview Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
735 West Diversey
Chicago, Illinois 60614
- Midway Neurological & Rehabilitation Center
8540 S. Harlem Avenue
Bridgeview, Illinois 60455
- Momence Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
500 S. Walnut Street
Momence, Illinois 60954
9777 Greenwood Avenue
Niles, Illinois 60714
9525 South Mayfield
Oak Lawn, Illinois 60453
- Parker Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
516 West Frech Street
Streator, Illinois 61364
- Parkshore Estates Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
6125 South Kenwood
Chicago, Illinois 60637
- Southpoint Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
1010 West 95th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60643
- West Suburban Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
311 Edgewater Drive
Bloomingdale, Illinois 60108
Several of these Infinity homes have earned a troublesome reputation over the years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted those systemic problems. For example, at City View MultiCare Center in Cicero, founding partner Steven Levin spoke out against the facility’s trend in coronavirus outbreaks, publicly stating, “for many years prior to this outbreak, City View MultiCare Center operated with insufficient staff and with a lack of adherence to recognized infection control protocols.”
An overworked and underpaid workforce contributes to nursing home struggles that can lead to preventable hospitalizations, injuries, sicknesses, or residents’ deaths. These employees are too often forced to be responsible for an overwhelming number of patients with high care needs, creating a ripple of adverse effects that nursing home residents ultimately pay for.
Share Your COVID-19 Nursing Home Story and Help Others
Many Illinois long-term care workers have spoken up against facility owners and operators and say they have “refused to increase staffing levels or protect workers’ healthcare coverage and haven’t been transparent about COVID-19 cases within their facilities.” If you are one of these employees and witness to a staff or residents being mistreated due to facility operator negligence, you are protected against any form of retaliation and are encouraged to report what you know immediately.
Levin & Perconti: Chicago Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys
Through our work, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the extra work and precautions required to care for nursing home residents during this unprecedented time. Still, infection disease can never be ignored or disregarded. If you suspect elder neglect or abuse of any kind related to COVID-19 challenges, please contact us for a free and confidential consultation with one of our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at 312-332-2872 or call us toll-free at 877-374-1417.