New Jersey nursing home union stresses need for higher wages

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A union representing more than 4,000 nursing home workers in New Jersey is pushing for fair wage increases and standardized wages that it says will cut down on salary variations from facility to facility.

The union, whose contract is set to expire March 31, also wants to make sure that family healthcare benefits are not rolled back for the workers, who include dietitians, laundry workers and housekeepers.
 
"Paying workers a living wage and family healthcare will help solve New Jersey's high turnover problem," said Milly Silva, the union president.
 
The annual turnover rate is about 45% for certified nursing assistants in New Jersey homes, union officials said, according to the Star-Ledger. One certified nursing assistant, who has worked in homes for 31 years, told the newspaper she makes $13 an hour. Still, with the high cost of living today she said she is barely making ends meet. The average certified nursing assistant makes between $8 and $10 an hour, according to union officials.
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