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About 800 workers at a dozen nursing homes across Pennsylvania have voted to authorize going on strike, citing low pay and understaffing.  

“Almost all have identified safe staffing and living wages, and affordable high-quality healthcare, as key priorities that need to be addressed if this care crisis is going to be resolved, according to a Thursday press release from  SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union that represents the workers. 

The union said the employees voting to strike, including nurses, nurse aides and other caregivers, are in separate contract negotiations alongside thousands of other nursing home workers in the Keystone State.

“Our legislators need to step up and protect those who live in nursing homes and the workers who care for them,” said Matthew Yarnell, president, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “With over 13,000 nursing home residents lost to this pandemic, the public needs to know that not only will COVID relief money be used for nursing home care, but that money actually gets where it’s supposed to go — for more staffing, and to the bedside to protect residents.

The union members have authorized their negotiation committees to issue a 10-day notice to strike at any time. The 10-day notice is legally required for healthcare worker strikes.