Published: May 18, 2021

Following A Landmark Union Contract at Oregon’s Largest Nursing Home Chain, Two Additional Chains Raise Wages to $18 Per Hour. 

Avalon and Prestige, two large nursing home chains in Oregon, raised their base-pay rate last week, as the industry moves to match the standards set by SEIU 503’s new contract with the Avamere Family of Companies. 

Portland, OR—Two nursing home chains raised their base pay to $18 per hour last week, less than a month after SEIU 503 and the Avamere Family of Companies reached a new, standard-setting agreement on wages, staffing, training and other labor-management issues.

“We expect this momentum to sweep across the industry,” said Melissa Unger, Executive Director of SEIU 503. “COVID put a spotlight on problems in the industry, and workers responded by organizing with an intensity we have not seen in years. SEIU 503 members participated in actions across the state, advocating for better pay, better training and better outcomes for the residents they care for. The Avamere contract was their first big win.”

Avalon and Prestige reached separate agreements with workers on May 11 to match the $18 per hour base pay in the Avamere contract. Each company agreed to set a new wage floor and adjust up workers making less than $18. For some workers, $18 per hour is a 23% wage increase.

That’s a life changing raise, but the SEIU-Avamere contract isn’t only about pay. Included in that agreement are plans for safer staffing, better training programs, and career ladders for care providers. SEIU 503 expects other companies to follow Avamere’s lead on these critical issues as well.

“Staffing, training and employee retention are critical to reforming an industry that buckled under the pressure of COVID-19,” Unger said. “What we’re seeing across the industry is that people are not willing to take hard, dangerous jobs where they are not respected, protected or paid fairly for the work they do. The pay is important, but it’s just the start. We are negotiating contracts with 5 nursing home chains later this year, and we expect all these issues to be front and center in those talks.”


About SEIU 503

SEIU 503 is a union of 72,000 public services and care provider workers in Oregon. We represent 5,000 nursing home workers at Avalon, Avamere, Benicia, Dakavia, Empres, Prestige and Meadow Park.

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