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Citing 'Crisis', Workers At The Rawlins Organize For Strike

SEIU Local 503

Employees at a Springfield memory care facility say they’re going on strike, after management refused to recognize their union.

In a series of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3F4dSbfsMs">video statements, The Rawlin workers say that understaffing, low wages, and insufficient training have put the facility in crisis.

Jenn Gregory, a Rawlin Care Partner, said 85 percent of workers petitioned to unionize.

“Our employer has refused to recognize our union. They want to force us to an election process that could take months. We don’t have months.  We have had 21 deaths in the past eight weeks, many of them for non-COVID related reasons. My co-workers and I are convinced that with adequate staff and training, some of these residents would be alive today.”

In an email, OneLife founder Zack Falk said the development company’s priority at The Rawlin: "is to provide compassionate and exceptional care to residents without interruption," and that "these are incredibly challenging times due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Their hard-work and dedication during such trying times is nothing short of heroic.  And although we certainly hope that these employees ultimately decide not to go on strike, The Rawlin is prepared to continue operations and round-the-clock care for our residents regardless."

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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