Harkins: Nursing home strike settlement a victory for resident care

ERIE, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Pat Harkins issued the following statement in response to news that striking nursing home employees at facilities owned by Comprehensive Healthcare, Priority Healthcare, and Shenandoah Heights Healthcare have reached contract agreements:

“Reports that Pennsylvania nursing home workers have reached a deal with management is the best possible news and a testament to what workers can achieve when they stand together.

“When hundreds of employees walked off the job earlier this month, they had reached a breaking point after years of attempting to care for too many residents with insufficient staff and resources. Many had warned that conditions were jeopardizing residents’ safety and health and that the lack of a living wage made it impossible to recruit and retain desperately needed staff.

“Tackling these issues was the very reason I joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle to commit $600 million in the new state budget to strengthen nursing home care.

“By joining forces and making their voices heard, these workers brought management to the table, and both sides scored a victory by putting aside their differences and coming together to put those dollars to the use for which they were intended.

“The new contract agreements should ensure more staff time for residents and better wages and benefits for recruitment and retention of staff.

“Laying this groundwork now is essential, because quality long-term care in Pennsylvania is critical to a growing segment of our population.”