SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – 1199SEIU nursing home workers in Schenectady are among the hundreds of members of 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East who will be holding demonstrations and vigils at more than 20 nursing homes across New York State. These workers are calling for greater transparency and investment in quality resident care.

The workers at the Schenectady Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing on Altamont Ave. will be picketing on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 2:30-4 p.m. in hopes of bringing light to their cause.

For far too long, nursing homes around New York State have made investment in resident care an afterthought. We are calling on these for-profit nursing homes to prioritize and invest in people – the residents and the workers who care for them day in and day out.  Our members have been battling COVID-19 for the last year, but issues like low wages and a lack of adequate time to devote to individual patient care existed pre-COVID. Our goal is to enact real reforms to raise standards within the industry, and ensure that meaningful investment is made in residents and workers once and for all.

Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of the Nursing Home Division

On February 10, NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton reported that 1199SEIU launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign, Invest in Quality Care. The goal of this campaign is to press the legislature to ensure nursing homes focus on quality care to protect residents and the dedicated workers who care for them, rather than maximizing profits. On Valentine’s Day, members across New York engaged in a virtual “sticker” campaign, using social media to urge state assemblymembers and senators to enact key reforms and ensure the most vulnerable in the state get the investment and care they need. 

Lorna Jacobs is a veteran C.N.A. at Schenectady Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and has seen the nursing home go through several different owners. She says that the recent months are “the worst she has ever seen.”

1199SEIU and its members are calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to pass systemic reform for the nursing home industry to improve transparency, hold operators accountable for misconduct, and ensure they prioritize resident care over maximized profits.

Actions will also be held at nursing homes in Dutchess, Erie, Jefferson, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Onondaga, Oneida, and Suffolk counties and New York City.  Many of these facilities have low average hours of care per resident, use a high number of related parties to hide profits, or otherwise rank poorly in care quality.