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Workers at Pa. nursing homes, including 2 in Lehigh Valley area, go on strike. They’re seeking a piece of $600 million in pandemic funding

Morning Call - 9/2/2022

Workers at 14 nursing homes across Pennsylvania, including one in Easton and another in Monroe County, have gone on strike.

Some 700 workers walked off the job Friday amid an unfair labor practice dispute between the union and the nursing home owners: Comprehensive Healthcare and Priority Healthcare.

The dispute centers around how much money the owners have spent on staffing and care, according to the SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. The union said negotiations started Thursday morning and ended early Friday without a deal.

The Gardens at Memory Care Easton, also known as Praxis, 500 Washington St., and The Meadows at Stroud in East Stroudsburg, are among the facilities where workers have gone on strike. They are owned by Priority Healthcare, whose administrators could not be immediately reached for comment.

Workers in Easton went on strike about 6 a.m. Friday, said Emily Dong, an SEIU Healthcare spokesperson.

At issue is how much of $600 million earmarked by Gov. Tom Wolf and state lawmakers will actually go to workers who say they have been working longer hours since the pandemic. The money comes with accountability to ensure that 70% goes to staffing and bedside care, the union said.

“Our goal has always been — and continues to be — to get a fair contract that invests in this entire workforce and will meaningfully address the staffing crisis,” said Matthew Yarnell, SEIU Healthcare president, in a news release. “But the offers on the table still fall short.”

This story will be updated.

Contact Morning Call journalist Anthony Salamone at asalamone@mcall.com.

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