The nearly 500 workers join a recent wave of nursing home workers winning contracts with industry-changing standards, dramatically improved wages, and better healthcare benefits.
Pennsylvania — After months of negotiations, around 500 workers at eight different nursing homes across Pennsylvania owned by Saber Healthcare Group have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new, three-year agreement. This new contract represents a major victory in union nursing home workers’ ongoing campaign to improve care in their industry.
The nursing homes covered by this contract include:
Ambler Extended Care Center (Ambler)
Broad Mountain Health & Rehabilitation Center (Frackville)
Bryn Mawr Extended Care Center (Bryn Mawr)
Julia Ribaudo Extended Care Center (Lake Ariel)
Langhorne Gardens Health & Rehabilitation Center (Langhorne)
Mountain City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (Hazle Township)
Slate Belt Health & Rehabilitation (Bangor)
Spruce Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation (Reading)
Driven by workers’ collective strength, the new contract includes statewide wage increases and improvements to healthcare that will help retain and recruit more caregivers for residents. This will help facilities meet the new staffing ratios union caregivers demanded and won last year through updated state nursing home regulations.
“I’m excited to be a part of this historic contract,” said Mary Lambert, a licensed practical nurse at Langhorne Gardens for five years. “Healthcare has changed over the past few years, and this contract reflects that. We worked throughout the pandemic to care for our residents, and we did it without a raise. You could walk to the Wawa or Walmart and make more than a certified nursing assistant. So throughout a year’s worth of back-and-forth negotiations, and a whole lot of teamwork, we stuck together for wages that will help people who have this calling be able to stay.”
In the backdrop of President Biden announcing a federal commitment to nursing home reforms last year, Saber recognized the status quo would not be enough to help address the workforce crisis and improve resident care.
Contract highlights include:
Raises of up to $3 an hour for some workers and average raises of 20% over the life of the agreement.
Improvements in healthcare, including providing all workers with union health insurance.
Wage scales and longevity bonuses that reward staff who showed up for residents throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
A contractually enforceable commitment to safe staffing.
“We received the largest wage increases that I’ve seen since I’ve worked at my home,” said Christine Peters, a certified nursing assistant who has been at Broad Mountain for 25 years. “We also got better healthcare – which healthcare workers deserve. To me, it shows that Saber is understanding what we’re doing a little more, that it’s not an easy job. We are caring for people’s lives, and we should be able to take care of ourselves, too.
“These are people’s loved ones, and they become our loved ones, too,” Peters said. “Now that workers at Saber-owned buildings are under one contract, we’ll have more power to raise standards. Standing together, we can get more accomplished: From higher wages and better insurance, to getting the state to increase staffing ratios. It all comes back to taking care of our residents.”
“These workers are relentless advocates for their residents, and they worked hard for a contract that helps bring staff back to the bedside,” said Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union that represents the nursing home workers. “It’s through productive negotiations like we had with Saber, where we reach a fair contract that invests in workers and residents, that we can begin to raise standards of quality care in all nursing homes.
“We’ve now reached agreements at over 60 nursing homes across the state, often with over 20% pay increases that are vital to stabilizing this critical workforce. Our negotiations with Saber show that if employers and workers roll up their sleeves, together we can invest this historic $600 million state funding in improvements to care that benefits everyone.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting tens of thousands of professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home- and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality care and healthy communities for all Pennsylvanians.
Information provided to TVL by
Emily Dong (she/her)
Digital Campaigns Specialist
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania