Christian Care Home Workers Win Contract, End Strike

Striking workers in early February. - MEGAN ANTHONY
Striking workers in early February.
Christian Care Home workers declared victory this morning, saying they have won favorable contract terms with their employer — and will be ending their months' long strike.

The strike lasted 104 days, with workers picketing the Ferguson nursing home through some of the coldest, most miserable weather in recent St. Louis history.

The workers, who are members of the SEIU, drew support from some local elected representatives, including state Representative Bruce Franks (D-St. Louis), as well families with loved ones at the facility, who told the RFT that care had suffered in their absence. They also recently won the backing of the National Labor Relations Board, which found merit to multiple "Unfair Labor Practices" complaints filed by workers.

Among other things, the SEIU alleges that Christian Care Home threatened recent hires with termination for joining the strike. It also denied earned benefits to striking employees, the workers alleged.

“We went on strike because management wasn’t respecting our rights on the job, and then instead of doing the right thing — they showed us further disrespect,” said certified nursing assistant Brenda Davis in a prepared statement. “I think they thought if they treated us badly enough, we would give up, but that just made us more determined to stand up for ourselves and our residents.”

A press release from the union said that the workers "voted overwhelmingly" to ratify a contract yesterday that includes the following provisions:
  • Guaranteed raises throughout the life of the contract
  • Christian Care to pay the increase in health insurance rates for 2018, and to pay for half of any increase to insurance rates for 2019 and 2020
  • Payouts of Unfair Labor Practice and grievance settlements within 10 days
  • Respect for worker seniority as workers return to work, with striking workers returning to their original status and shift, as feasible with current facility occupation rate
  • Striking workers to be back at work by Monday, March 19
Lenny Jones, director of SEIU Healthcare Missouri, credited the workers' persistence.

"Management seemed to be betting on workers giving up before Christian Care had to face any real consequences for their Unfair Labor Practices," he said in a statement. "But the strikers kept standing strong — and that meant Christian Care had to either settle a fair contract or go to trial.”

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About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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