ROCKFORD - Dozens of healthcare workers in
The picketers in
Latasha Vella, union steward for SEIU-HCII at Alden Debes, says the quality of care they are giving to their residents is being affected.
"Say you're taking care of a hallway with 30-32 people and you have two CNAs on that hall," explained Vella. "The ratio of the number of residents to the number of CNAs, you're taking care of 15-16 people by yourself."
Union workers claim the short
staffing problem also falls right back to the issue of pay. They say turnover is rampant at the
"If you can go somewhere else and make more money than coming here and making less, clearly a lot of people won't stay," said Vella.
Alden Management Services, parent
company of Alden Debes in
"Alden Debes is a member of the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities. The association has been negotiating with the union in good faith to renew the contract. We are disheartened by the picketing and inflammatory comments made by the union in an effort to disrupt the ongoing negotiations. Alden wants to assure our residents and the community that we will continue to provide quality care and services during the ongoing talks."
SEIU-HCII members say they've received an offer of a five-cent raise, but the catch is for every five cents per hour they receive as a raise they must furlough a vacation day. That's something the union just isn't buying into.
"You worked for it, you earned it, you deserve it,' Vella said.
Union members said today's picket was purely informational, no one actually walked off the job. They say they just want to have their voices heard.