SAINT PAUL – Healthcare workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa are calling on legislative leaders to finish their critical work and get a compromise deal to the Governor’s desk that addresses the crisis facing nursing home and home care workers across the state.
Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, said both sides had made important offers and they should be able to compromise on a final package:
“We are very encouraged that the House continues to champion creation of a Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board to give workers a direct voice in shaping conditions in their industry and making sure the benefits of additional state funding reach the people they are intended for: hard-working caregivers on the front lines, which there are far too few of today due to low pay and poor benefits. Workers know the Board is essential to address the workforce crisis. We also appreciate the more robust Senate position on funding for nursing homes. We think the House position on the Board provides the additional accountability that can help all sides support the very significant new permanent funding in the Senate position. This can be a win/win for both parties and for both employers and workers.
“On home care, the two chambers are even closer together. Both the House and Senate offer enough new funding in their budget proposals to deliver a much-needed raise for the workers all across the state who provide services to people with disabilities and seniors in their homes and communities. The two parties agree this is an urgent need. We just need them to return to the Capitol to finalize the other parts of a budget agreement, in order for thousands of home care clients to be able to offer better wages to recruit and retain the caregivers they rely on every day.”
Tim Sorenson, a frontline CNA at The Estates of Rosedale nursing home facility and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, shared why passing legislation to help nursing home workers and residents is so important:
“I got sick with COVID twice caring for Minnesota seniors. I have watched so many co-workers get sick. We need help and we need to make sure we are working to fix our industry in the long term. We showed up every day to make sure our residents had the best care possible. We did our job, and we’re counting on our elected officials to do their jobs, finish their work and pass laws that help the healthcare workers whom they’ve all praised as heroes throughout COVID.”
Joseph Rolfer, a home care worker in Fairmont who cares for his partner and is a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa who currently makes $14.40, shared the urgency on raising wages for frontline health care workers who provide critical care for thousands of Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities:
“A pay bump would help increase the quality of care across Minnesota because workers can provide the best care when we aren’t struggling to feed our kids or wondering if the bills are going to get paid. The low pay right now is so hard. So many of us have empty cabinets and mouths to feed,” said Rolfer, who has been part of multiple events pushing for this increase. “I’ve met legislators from both parties and told them clearly that raising wages will help so many people. We give a lot to do our jobs, but we need to be able to survive so we can provide these critical services. Both parties agree we need to invest in PCA wages. I hope they can finish their job. We should not let a fight over how much to do, force us to do nothing.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care