PITTSBURGH — With a contract that expired on December 1, 2014, healthcare workers at Charles Morris Nursing Home and Rehab Center held an informational picket on Friday, December 19th to call for a swift contract settlement that provides employees with family-sustaining wages and affordable healthcare costs.
“At the end of the day, all I want is to be able to have affordable health insurance and competitive wages to take care of my family and support my community,” said Cheryl Thompson, an LPN at the nursing home. “I want to go to work feeling good about the job I do and to get back to doing what I do best, which is taking care of residents.”
Despite generating $20 million in revenue and over $1 million in income in 2013, Charles Morris – a nonprofit nursing home —pays wages that are well below the statewide average for nursing home workers. At the same time, the Jewish Association on Aging which owns Charles Morris is proposing a new UPMC healthcare plan that will result in much higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for these low-paid workers. To reduce turnover and enhance quality resident care, workers are calling for a living wage and affordable healthcare costs.
The UPMC healthcare plan proposed by the company more than quadruples the deductible for single coverage in exchange for only a modest savings in workers’ per pay contributions. Workers are also expected to participate in multiple wellness programs to earn less savings than they currently receive for an annual physical with a biometric screening.
For Charles Morris housekeeper Mia Lowden and her family, this healthcare plan doesn’t make sense.
“I’m a single mom with two kids,” Lowden said. “I need my insurance to be predictable, not have a bunch of uncertain out of pocket costs or to have to jump through a series of hoops to get a wellness discount.”
Currently, no additional bargaining dates have been set, but workers are ready to meet with management and continue working toward a fair settlement.