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Bannister Nursing Home supporters and caregivers hold march for safe staffing and fair wages

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If you want a better nursing home, if you want your nursing home to grow and for us to recommend people, please, safe staffing!” said Bannister CNA Tenah Nimmo-Powell to Bannister management. “And a decent raise.”


About three dozen caregivers and community supporters marched from the SEIU 1199NE Office on Broadway in Providence to the Bannister Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, where workers were picketing during day two of a three-day strike to demand staffing and end poverty wages. Workers marched with banners, flags, signs and masks, carrying a giant papier-mâché puppet of a healthcare worker’s fist holding a stethoscope in the air.

Bannister Center has not accepted contract proposals submitted over one year ago that would create safe staffing standards of 4.1 direct-care hours, wage boosts, affordable healthcare and training opportunities, despite caregivers risking personal safety for months throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Bannister Center, owned by an out-of-state corporation, Centers Health Care, has had 15-20 COVID-19 resident and caregiver deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Frontline caregivers, overwhelmingly Black and brown women, are paid a starting rate of only $12 an hour. Despite healthy profits and large windfalls of federal funding, Bannister’s New York-based management decided to disregard the urgent needs of health care heroes who have shown up everyday in a deadly pandemic to provide high quality compassionate care.

At Bannister Center, there was a short speaking program.

SEIU organizer Adanjesús Marín led attendees in chants:


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“If you want a better nursing home, if you want your nursing home to grow and for us to recommend people, please, safe staffing!” said Bannister CNA Tenah Nimmo-Powell to Bannister management. “And a decent raise.”

“You are all essential workers,” said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. “We talk a lot about essential workers. Having safe staffing, having living wages, is basic…”

Patrick Quinn, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199NE: