Nursing home workers ask Saginaw City Council to set example with hazard pay

They want the city to dedicate some federal stimulus money for bonuses
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 8:27 AM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - Essential workers addressed the Saginaw City Council on Monday, pushing for the city to become the first in Michigan to award hazard pay to nursing home workers.

Those workers said they deserve to be treated like heroes and not zeroes. They say the city of Saginaw could set a trend for essential workers, who continue to care for elderly and disabled residents amid the delta variant.

“We are asking them to use their ARPA funds that have been designated to the city to expand the wage pass through in the city of Saginaw to nursing home workers who were excluded,” said Andrea Acevedo, president of the SEIU Healthcare Michigan union. “EVS dietary, housekeeping, maintenance -- it all takes every single worker to take care of the most vulnerable. And if you don’t care of the workers, they can’t do their job.”

The SEIU represents about 17,000 health care workers in Michigan.

The state budget deal reached in September excluded thousands of nursing home workers from a pandemic pay raise, instead permanently extending a $2.25 per hour pay raise for direct care nurses and their assistants.

“We want them to know we are out here doing a job and we feel like we need to be paid for it,” said Cookie, who is a nurse aide and laundry aide. “We need to be recognized for it and if you say we are heroes and essential workers, then make us feel that.”

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