CALL ON WEALTHY NURSING HOME OWNER TO PAY LIVING WAGE
WORCESTER – After years of living on wages that don’t keep pace with the cost of living, and several failed attempts to negotiate with owner Frank Romano, members of 1199SEIU at Essex Nursing Homes are staging an informational picket this afternoon between 2:30 and 4:00 PM in front of West Side House of Worcester in an effort to get to a more realistic proposal.
Last week, Romano—the wealthy owner of Essex nursing homes—made an insulting offer to the hard-working 1199SEIU members by offering us a pitiful raise, forcing many 1199SEIU members to make difficult choices between rent, food and utilities.
“The cost of living has gone up tremendously in the past three years, but we employees at Essex have not had any good raises,” said Babrah Mugandani of West Side House of Worcester. “Workers need a raise so we can afford to continue doing this job providing good care for the residents. We’re united together to stand up for our rights.”
In recent months, the powerful voices of 1199SEIU nursing home members were able to gain more than $30 million in additional Medicaid funding next year. This victory was won by 1199SEIU members meeting with our legislators to explain the need for increased nursing home funding. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be going into Essex nursing homes—a move that was thought to be a great thing for residents and the workers of Essex who desperately need a real raise.
Adding insult to injury, Romano—who makes more than $50 million in combined revenues—has offered the workers a raise of just a half of a percent in the second year of the contract.
“We need our voices to be heard—this offer is an insult,” said Tommy Kegbeh of Blair House of Worcester. “It says they don’t respect us. The lack of a fair raise is an abomination. I have worked at Essex for 13 years. If the workers get good pay, the residents get even better care. The workers need a raise to pay their rent, pay for their mortgages, to buy food and gas, the basic living expenses.”
Workers are also upset that while Romano has refused to negotiate a living wage for nursing home workers, he has stacked the nursing homes administrative payroll with multiple family members, all of whom earn hefty salaries.
“It’s simple,” said Betty Albano of West Side House. “Nobody can live without a living wage.”