Workers at five nursing homes in metro Detroit say they'll walk off the job today to protest working conditions.
Trece Andrews is a certified nursing assistant at Regency at St. Clair Shores.
The other homes involved in the walkout are Hartford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Lodge at Taylor, Regency at Taylor, Villa at Great Lakes Crossing, and Villa at City Center.
Andrews says one of the biggest issues is extremely low wages for certified nursing assistants in the industry. She herself is only making slightly above $15 an hour - after working as a nursing assistant for more than 20 years.
She says many other workers in dietary and custodial positions are making nine to ten dollars an hour.
Andrews says workers also only have six sick days a year -- and no additional paid time off is being granted if a worker becomes sick with COVID-19, or is exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19.
She says workers who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 are being pressured to ignore CDC guidelines for self-isolation.
"You're supposed to get 14 days," she says. "They want you to return to work (quickly) or you can get fired. They threaten you like that."
Andrews says five residents at her place of work have died from COVID-19, but no workers have died. But she had several acquaintences in other nursing homes in the area who died of COVID-19, she says.
Lisa Elliott also works as a certified nursing assistant at Regency at St. Clair Shores. She says staffing levels were abysmal before the pandemic.
Now, the situation is much worse, because family members cannot come in to help care for their loved ones, especially during meal time.
"It's not fair to the residents that they have to be mistreated or served cold food or lay up in their stool or urine for X amount of time because there's only one person taking care of that whole section," says Elliott.
Nursing home administrators did not respond to emails and calls for comment