SAINT PAUL – Nursing home workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa are excited with the push at the Minnesota Capitol for the Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board, a bill to raise labor standards in the industry and to help address the staffing crisis. The Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board, authored by Rep. Esther Agbaje in the House and Sen. Sandy Pappas in the Senate, would create a Board with three government representatives, three employer representatives, and three worker representatives. The board would have the power to set minimum labor standards, like a minimum wage, for the nursing home industry to help strengthen the industry for patients and workers.
Travis Burth, a server and cook at Cerenity Care Center and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, shared his excitement the potential for this Board:
"I got hired at $12.50 an hour. After more than two years, I still only make $14.00 an hour as a server. It is easy to find safer, less stressful jobs that pay more. Unless you give workers in this industry a chance to set a better minimum wage, we will never attract the workforce we need. When we get a new employee, they almost always quit. Even our long-time staff quit because they can’t take it any more. The short-staffing is worse now than when I started during COVID. The problem is not just a lack of funding. The business press says lots of people are making money from nursing homes. To get more money for workers, you have to give them the power to set standards.”
Jared Mituga, a nursing home worker and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, talked about how excited nursing home workers are to have the Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board moving towards passage in the fight to address the crisis in the industry:
"Minnesota nursing home workers are facing a staffing crisis with too few workers to give our seniors the care they need. The Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board would bring workers, employers, and government regulators together and give them the power to set minimum standards, like a minimum wage for their industry. This would be a huge step towards addressing the crisis that is hurting workers, residents and our whole community. Not only does this make sure taxpayer dollars support good jobs, but we can only solve the staffing crisis by giving workers more power to raise standards for all."
Rasha Ahmad Sharif, SEIU Executive Vice President and Nursing Home Sector Director, shared how this board will help level the playing field:
“We need to lift up all workers and provide a career path and benefits that will not only retain our current workers who have stayed loyal to their residents through the hardest times but also draw tens of thousands of new workers into our industry."
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa unites nearly 50,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.