Care home staff picket for better conditions

Staff members at the Oil City Healthcare and Rehabilitaion Center on Grandview Road gathered in front of the facility Wednesday afternoon for an informational picket.

“We are asking for better patient to staff ratio, better bedside care… It is about better care for patients,” said Karen Hipple, who is a longtime LPN at the center and was the site organizer for the event.

“There are people making $12 or $13 an hour. That isn’t enough to live on. I know of several who work a second job at night,” Hipple said.

Staff members who stood outside the center were among more than 2,000 workers at 32 health care locations across Pennsylvania who participated in the picket Wednesday.

The event was organized by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the state’s largest union of nurses and healthcare workers in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

Karen Applegate Gownley, communications director for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, said in an email “Workers are leaving the bedside in droves and those who stay are burning out, making the staffing crisis even worse.”

Gownley said the goal of the picket is to, “demand legislators fix this broken system and ensure safe staffing standards… better job standards… and accountability.”