Strikers settle contract at 13 Pennsylvania nursing homes

September 9, 2022 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of striking nurses prepared to return to work as their union announced a tentative contract agreement Friday with 13 of 14 nursing homes across Pennsylvania.

After reaching agreement with Comprehensive Healthcare on Thursday, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania announced Friday that bargainers had come to terms with a second operator, Priority Healthcare.

Picketing was halted and the union said workers could be back on the job this weekend. Contract details were not released pending ratification votes.

A total of about 700 unionized workers at 14 nursing homes statewide went on strike Sept. 2 in a dispute over pay, benefits and staffing levels.

Striking workers at independently owned Shenandoah Heights nursing home in Schuylkill County have yet to settle their contract, but negotiations continued Friday.

The union has staked a claim on hundreds of millions of dollars in new state and federal funding for nursing homes. A trade group representing for-profit nursing homes has noted that the newly increased Medicaid reimbursements do not kick in until January, and the other aid has not yet been distributed.

Nursing homes have long struggled with staff turnover, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.