Nursing home workers file to unionize following strike

Employees at the Bloomfield Hills facility say that long shifts and low wages are among the reasons they want to unionize.

A wheelchair next to an empty bed in a nursing home

Workers at a nursing home in Bloomfield Hills have filed to join the Michigan Healthcare arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Employees at the facility – which is part of the SKLD network – say that long shifts and low wages are among the reasons they want to unionize.

The request comes after a 24-hour strike that workers participated in on Monday, July 11. A press release from SEIU says the strike was motivated by years of discrimination and underinvestment in the nursing industry. The company that runs the SKLD facility, Illuminate HC, says the vast majority of its staff did not participate in that action.

Kasandra Kemp is a Certified Nursing Assistant at the facility.

“A lot of times, I’m working four 16-hour days a week, along with my other co-workers, and it’s a burnout. You’re over-exerting yourself when we’re not staffed properly… and the accountability needs to be taken.”

Kemp says some fast-food workers make more than they do.

“We are medical professionals. We are trained to do a job. And I feel like if we do it to the best of our ability, even under such stressful work environments, we should be paid, we should be compensated.”

A spokesperson for the union says certified nursing assistants at SKLD Bloomfield Hills make between 17 to 24 dollars per hour, though most make less than 18. In a statement, Illuminate HC said they remain confident they can meet any need or request coming from workers through open, direct communication.

The union spokesperson says The National Labor Relations Board will likely follow up in the next week to establish next steps for the election, and depending on how fast they move, ballots could go out to the SKLD Bloomfield Hills workers by the end of the month.

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  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.