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Nursing Home Workers Picket For Better Care
More than 2,000 nursing home workers in Illinois are stressing the need for more resources. Wednesday, there were more than 50 demonstrations throughout the state. Workers are calling for owners of nursing homes to invest more in their facilities.
Picketers outside of Prairie Village Healthcare Center in Jacksonville are calling for the owners to invest more resources in quality care for residents, instead of pocketing high profits.
Jamie Byrd, a certified nurse assistant at the facility said, "Our biggest issue is staffing issues. We're understaffed. We do not have supplies we need at all times... We have to face families and explain why we don't have things we need and we shouldn't have to do that."
The administrator of Prairie Village declined to comment and simply said the picket is because of "contractual issues between the corporate office and the [Service Employees International Union]."
Byrd said, "It's not necessarily about that." Then added, "There's a lot of discouraged families right now because they know they're not getting the care they need here."
Dorothy Willner visits her sister, who lives at Prairie Village, several times a week and says there is a concern.
"I think all nursing homes are understaffed. It's not the employees fault, it's just something that seems to be a problem," Willner said.
Contract negotiations are ongoing between SEIU and dozens of companies that own more than 100 nursing homes in Illinois.
The picketers have been working without a contract for 10 months. Now they're hoping the demonstration will lead to a contract before they start talking about a strike.
We tried to reach the owners of Prairie Village Healthcare Center for their side of the story. The two phone numbers we found listed for Care Plus Management in Chicago are incorrect. One call was answered by a woman who says it's a wrong number; the second was answered by a man who doesn't speak English.