Nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, dietary and housekeeping, and other staff of Kindred’s long-term acute care hospitals on First Hill and in Northgate gathered on Wednesday to call on Kindred to fix staffing and improve front-line care.
Kindred, a Kentucky-based for-profit, provides care for the most vulnerable patients yet, caregivers say, is failing to invest in staff or staffing in a way that meets patients’ needs. Caregivers will share experiences working their hardest yet still falling short of providing dignified care for their patients.
“We give so much to take care of our patients, but it’s hard to take care of ourselves and our families, and Kindred wants to keep it that way,” said Ezekiel Lebbie, a CNA at Kindred’s First Hill campus. “We want a better Kindred, and that means a better life for us and better care for our patients.”
More than a hundred caregivers picketed outside of Kindred’s Northgate campus on Wednesday evening, calling on the corporation to put patient care before profits and invest in staff and staffing. Caregivers point to just-above-minimum wages as one reason for high turnover and difficulty improving standards at the facility.
“Many workers here still make only $13.50 – they’ve worked here for decades,” said environmental services worker Catalina McKinnon.” The minimum wage is $15 an hour here in Seattle but Kindred can do that because they provide unaffordable healthcare as a benefit. And new workers who come in and don’t use Kindred’s healthcare benefit start at $15 an hour. We ALL need to make a living wage. It’s no wonder that workers leave for better paying jobs at other Seattle hospitals.”
Healthcare workers are calling for an immediate improvement in staffing and an investment in staff wages to improve recruitment and retention.
“Your patients need you to fight, your families need you to fight. When we fight, we win, and we advance standards in our community. Let’s tell Kindred we’ve had enough of their low standards, it’s time for action.” Jane Hopkins, RN, Executive Vice President, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
“We stand up together because the more voices we have, the more they’ll hear us. We need to be strong and we need to keep doing this together.” – Mimi Hailu, Tele Tech/CNA/HUC
spapineau June 19th, 2017
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