St. Paul nursing home workers hold 24-hour strike demanding better pay, more PPE

Health care workers hold a 24-hour strike in St. Paul

More than 85 Cerenity Humboldt Care Center workers began a 24-hour strike Monday morning.

The move came after months of contract negotiations between the workers and the nursing home broke down.

Off the job and on the picket line, more than 80 workers employed by Cerenity Humboldt Care Center in St. Paul started a 24-hour strike.

“We are here today because the people who keep this nursing home running deserve better than what they are getting from their employer,” said Lisa Weed with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

The union represents employees in positions that range from healthcare workers to housekeepers. The group’s demands include fair wages for employees, paid sick leave and more access to Personal Protective Equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“All I want to say is we want more money, we want to keep our sick time, and we want to be respected,” employee Rhonda Little said.

The nursing home workers are standing in solidarity with the national “Strike for Black Lives” movement. Thousands of essential workers from across the country also walked off the job Monday to protest against systemic racism and economic inequality.

Two of Minnesota’s state lawmakers also weighed in Monday. 

“It’s very, very important that you take care of the most vulnerable in our society, and you deserve good pay and sick days so you’re not sick while taking care of sick people and elderly people,” Sen. Sandy Pappas said. 

“There’s a growing awareness of what really matters in life, and what really matters in life is the work that you do,” Rep. Carlos Mariani said.