CHICAGO — It’s been seven days now since 700 nursing home workers with Infinity Health Care first walked off the job and onto the picket line.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and other local labor groups joined the striking workers outside Infinity’s Southpoint location Sunday.
SEIU Local 73 leaders are asking Infinity Healthcare’s owner Moishe Gubin to return to the bargaining table.
“You want us to come in and work, put our life on the line but you don’t want to give us what we need,” said Jerome Williams, Infinity Healthcare CNA.
Infinity owns 11 long-term care facilities in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
Employees have been without a contract since June, and say chronic short staffing and lack of PPE are among their many concerns.
“Our Infinity workers are fighting for a fair contract that sets a $15 starting wage, mandates equal pay for equal work just like the other nursing homes in Illinois and give workers the pandemic hazard pay they deserve during this public health crisis,” said Greg Kelley, the president of SEIU Healthcare IL.
When asked for comment, Gubin responded briefly by email, saying, “you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.”
According to union leaders, Infinity Healthcare received $12.7 million from the Federal CARES Act and feel some of it should be used to compensate them.
“These folks go into an environment every day where they’re at risk and you tell me they’re not worth $15 an hour?” said Bob Reiter, Chicago Federation of Labor President. “All they’re worried about is their bonuses at the end of the year, and we got nothing but we’re the backbone.”