SAINT PAUL (Feb. 15) – Nursing home workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota celebrated the introduction of HF3405, a bill to raise labor standards in the industry and to help address the staffing crisis. The Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board, authored by Majority Leader Rep. Ryan Winkler, would create a Board with three government representatives, three employer representatives, and three worker representatives. The board would have the power to set minimum labor standards, like a minimum wage, for the nursing home industry.
Linda Zopfi, a nursing home Floor Technicianat from Clearwater, MN and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared her excitement the potential for this Board:
"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen too many talented and dedicated co-workers burnout from short-staffing, causing us to work even more shorthanded. We need living wages, pensions, and decent health insurance so that, even when things get tough, nursing homes will be able to retain staff. The Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board would help make this a reality."
Nan Chadderdon, a long-time Dietary Aide and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota at Central Health Care Center in LeCenter, MN, spoke about the need for change in the nursing home industry:
"Some facilities offering bonuses and pay increases have helped to stop the bleeding, but you can't solve the nursing home staffing crisis by throwing expensive, short-term band-aides at the problem. If we are going to give employers hundreds of millions of dollars, we need workers to have some voice in how that money gets spent, which the Nursing Workforce Standards Board bill will make sure happens."
Rasha Ahmad Sharif, SEIU Executive Vice President and Nursing Home Sector Director, shared how this board will help level the playing field:
“Millions are being spent on bonuses that just encourage one nursing home to poach staff from another home. We need to lift up all workers and provide a career path and benefits that will not only retain our current workers who have stayed loyal to their residents through the hardest times but also draw tens of thousands of new workers into our industry."
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites nearly 50,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.