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Workers at two nursing homes successful in fight for hazard pay

The union representing them says an agreement was reached days before a planned protest.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Front line workers in two area nursing homes will be getting hazard pay for their work during the COVID-19 crisis.

The union, 1199SEIU, represents the 200 Certified Nursing Assistants, LPNs, Activities Aides, Unit Clerks, Cooks, Dietary, Laundry and Housekeeping, and Maintenance staff at the Buffalo Center and Ellicott Center.  The pact was reached just days before a planned protest over the issue. It will provide up to $750, with a minimum of $500, for full-time employees who worked during the eight weeks from early April to June, during the time the virus was at its peak.

“When things started to get bad and our co-workers were getting sick, we asked the owners for hazard pay,” said Annette Rogers, who has worked as a Unit Clerk at Buffalo Center for twenty years. “It took a few months, but we got it!”

The union said the Centers saw multiple resident deaths and many workers become sick. They claim, until now, ownership refused to offer any bonuses or premium pay to caregivers.

“Nursing home workers have been on the frontline everyday putting our lives at risk by caring for our residents,” said Dorinda McDougald, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Ellicott Center for 22 years. “Without question, we deserve this hazard pay.”

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