Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

An Illinois nursing home operator could be without its regular workforce for a prolonged period after about 700 workers walked off on the job after contract negotiations stalled. 

Workers at 11 nursing homes operated by Infinity Healthcare Management began the strike Monday morning, SEIU Healthcare announced. The employees are seeking a $2 per hour minimum wage increase and COVID hazard pay for all employees working at a facility with positive residents without attendance requirements. They’are also seeking wage equity among its facilities within the state. 

The workers have been working without a contract since June, according to the union. Temporary workers have been hired to cover staff shifts during the strike. Calls for comment from McKnight’s Long-Term Care to Infinity were not returned by production deadline. 

“They care about the safety of themselves and the residents, and that’s what this fight is about. It’s about making sure that workers have what they need to work one job – not two – so they don’t they don’t worry about what it means to cross contaminate,” said Erica Bland- Durosinmi, the union’s executive vice president. 

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 worker wage increase in its history.