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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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Assisted living workers at WA facility call for higher wages

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024   

Workers for an assisted living facility are calling for higher wages in their union contract negotiations.

Aegis Living is a Seattle-based company that has been in negotiations with Service Employees International Union - Local 775 - workers since March 2023.

Workers say higher pay would help with retention.

Gurnesh Chetty, a medications manager at Aegis Ravenna in Seattle, said workers who stick around are able to build a bond, and trust the residents they serve.

"But if you have staff that are leaving," said Chetty, "then the residents feel like there's always someone new coming to tell them what to do, and they don't really know the residents, and that creates a conflict. So, it makes their life more stressful."

SEIU 775 says Aegis Living has increased fees for residents but that money has not made its way to workers.

A spokesperson for Aegis Living said its objective is to "foster a strong and unified team environment," and that the company is proud of its 2,700 employees, serving 2,500 residents.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue this week with a mediator.

Chetty said some of his colleagues are leaving for minimum wage jobs because the pay is similar and the work is less stressful.

"With resident care, you have to be on top of everything," said Chetty. "If they're not feeling well, if they're getting sick, you have to let the nurses know so you can get them to the hospital. You have to make sure they take their meds on time. You have to make sure they're showered, you have to make sure they're safe, they don't have anything dangerous with them. So, it's a very risky job."

In 2021, Aegis settled a $16 million class-action lawsuit with Washington and California residents, who claimed the company was misleading about staffing levels and violated consumer protection and elder abuse laws.



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