Published: April 17, 2024

A group of workers wearing SEIU Nursing Home Union t-shirts standing in front of an assisted living facility with a sign that says Avamere at Chestnut Lane

Workers at Avamere Chestnut Lane, a one-of-a-kind assisted living facility for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind, have won their first contract, with the highest Assisted Living Facility wages in the State of Oregon and possibly in the country.

Assisted living facilities are in crisis across the country, but the issues are even more acute in a facility providing care for a vulnerable population. Before they organized their union last November, Chestnut Lane workers faced high turnover and low wages, which made bringing in new caregivers nearly impossible, especially since staff need to have ASL interpretation skills to be able to provide care safely and with dignity.

This is an incredible group of workers. Most are fluent in ASL, and many are themselves Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Their skill, passion and commitment to the residents of Chestnut Lane, and to the community itself as an institution in the Deaf and Deaf-Blind community, is overwhelming. Highlights of their new contract include:

  • Average raise of 11% ($2.27) on contract implementation
  • Average raise of 24% ($4.97) between current pay and end of contract
  • $300 inflation bonus on contract implementation
  • $7.50/hr extra shift bonus
  • $10 mandation bonus (and mandation limited to 4 hours)
  • 5% differential for ASL proficiency
  • $26/hr for teaching ASL classes