Published: October 7, 2015

21779310120_225e87f615_kCertified nursing assistants, cooks, and many more workers at Meadow Park Health and Specialty Care in St. Helens have unanimously voted to strike in response to ongoing contentious negotiations over patient care and safety, as well as working conditions.

“I can’t afford to strike, but I also can’t afford not to strike,” said Fay Westfall, certified nursing assistant at Meadow Park. “What they’re asking us to do isn’t healthy for us workers, and it isn’t safe for residents.”

Workers cited a number of resident safety issues at the bargaining table that prompted the strike vote, including:

  • Forced overtime policies that require staff to work double shifts. Workers are concerned that forced double-shift overtime makes for physically and mentally exhausted workers who can’t perform at 100 percent—a problem that could prove to be dangerous or even fatal in a healthcare setting.
  • Eliminating overlap shifts by shortening days from eight to seven and a half hours. If this proposal went forward, workers leaving for the day would not be able to brief their incoming colleagues on the status of residents. When incoming workers don’t have the information they need to properly care for residents, it increases the likelihood of patients slipping through the cracks.

Workers will return to the bargaining table later this month; in the meantime, strike preparations are moving forward.