Workers at The Rawlin, a memory care facility owned by Onelife, ended a two week strike today, resigning en masse because they cannot continue in good conscience working for this company. About 50% of the workers at the facility submitted their resignation to management in a meeting today, and plan to take their fight to the State Legislature, where lawmakers are considering bills on staffing and transparency.
“The majority of us feel that continuing to work at The Rawlin, when no changes have been made, is not something we can do in good conscience,” said Summer Trosko, a care provider at the facility.
23 residents at The Rawlin died over a nine week period – only six of them from COVID. Workers say the deaths were the result of unsafe staffing, poor training standards, and hazardous turnover due to The Rawlin’s poor wages. On February 1, 85% of workers at the facility signed union cards and demanded management take immediate action to make the facility safer. When no action was taken, workers went on strike on February 15.
After two weeks on the picket line, it’s clear that Zack Falk of Onelife will not take the needed steps to make the facility a safe place to live and work. Two pieces of legislation in Salem would address issues raised by workers at the Rawlin:
- SB 714 would require memory care facilities like The Rawlin to maintain a specific staffing ratio. Current law does not provide specific guidelines on how to staff memory care facilities. The bill calls for 1 staff person for every 5 residents during the day and ratios of 1 to 9.5 in the evening, 1 to 10 overnight.
- SB 703 would bring The Rawlin up to the same standard of information sharing as nursing homes. Skilled Nursing Facilities are more heavily regulated than memory care facilities and other assisted living homes. The bill would require financial reporting and make it easier for Oregonians to understand the quality of care that seniors receive in facilities.
Another care provider, Hermes Ochoa said he couldn’t continue working for a company that won’t keep workers and residents safe. “Ten days ago we lit 23 candles for residents who passed,” Hermes said. “We know we will end up lighting more. I’ve said it before – but I don’t want blood on my hands. That’s why I organized. That’s why I will continue fighting to pass legislation in Salem so this doesn’t happen again at any assisted living facility in Oregon.”