BURLINGAME (KPIX 5) — Healthcare workers are on strike at a Burlingame nursing home, run by California’s largest for-profit operator.
Employees at Burlingame Long Term Care, run by Brius Healthcare got on the picket lines well before sunrise Thursday. The workers began a two-day strike to protest what they claim are unfair labor practices and are making some very serious allegations.READ MORE: Lake County Luxury Hotel, Housing Project Raises Concerns Over Wildfire Risk
The workers – comprised of licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, cooks, dietary aids, housekeepers, and laundry workers – say the last thing they want to do his harm the patients.
“We’re not trying to stop anybody from taking care of the patients,” said Gaelan Ash of AFSCME Local 829. “We’re trying to cause an economic incentive towards the employer to make sure that they recognize that that we’re serious at the bargaining table, they need to bargain in good faith.”
Their union, AFSCME Local 829, says they have been trying to negotiate a contract since last summer, asking for wage increases, more staff, and more affordable healthcare.
Instead, the union says management started changing wages and hours with no notification. One employee said she never knows if she’s working an 8-or a 12-hour shift.
“No they never ask,” said worker Reynafe Mosquera. ”So it’s really hard for me because before I come into work I never know where I’m going to be.”READ MORE: Theft Leaves San Jose Couple Bereft: 'We’re Heartbroken, All Our Precious Things Are Gone'
As for healthcare benefits, the union says insurance premiums take a significant portion of their income.
“If you want to have your family on, it’s $900 a paycheck, or $1800 a month to have your spouse and children and yourself covered,” said Ash. “And when you’re making 14 bucks an hour or even 21 bucks an hour, that’s completely impossible. There’s no way people can afford that.”
Worker Irma Bandala says after paying insurance, she’s left with about $400 per paycheck every other week.
“But they need to understand we are humans. We’re not animals,” Bandala. “They treat us like animals, ‘whatever, you guys take care of the patients with COVID, if you get infected, it’s on you.’”
The union is also accusing management of intimidating workers from striking, and bribery.
“The bribery, they released a memo to all members saying folks who cross the picket line, we get a $500 check, which is completely illegal and another unfair labor practice,” said Ash.MORE NEWS: Indoor Restaurant Dining Resumes, Movie Theaters Reopen in SF and Santa Clara Counties
The strike will go on all day today and tomorrow. Brius Healthcare has not yet responded to KPIX 5 inquiry for comment.