Detroit-area nursing home operators could be facing a significant staffing shortage soon after 1,600 workers announced plans to strike later this month. 

Employees at 18 facilities in the metro Detroit area said they are planning to strike Aug. 17, citing unfair labor practices and unsafe conditions for both workers and residents, SEIU HealthCare Michigan announced Friday. 

They’re asking operators to provide adequate personal protective equipment and increased wages for workers and to take responsibility for COVID-19’s toll in facilities. More than 2,000 Michigan nursing home residents and workers had died from the coronavirus as of Aug. 6, according to data from the state. 

“We’re called essential, but we’re treated like we’re expendable. We’re calling on nursing home owners to pay us a living wage so we can afford to get healthcare just like we provide it, and put in place proper safety protocols and guarantee PPE throughout the pandemic,” Lisa Elliott, a Michigan nursing assistant, said in a statement. 

Dozens of Illinois operators averted strikes at 64 nursing homes in early May after they increased wages by 24% in a deal with SEIU Healthcare. One operator noted that it was the largest wage increase for workers in its history.