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Westland nursing home workers: Strike ends after contract deal reached

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Staff at a Wayne County nursing home who went on strike this week amid a labor dispute say they have reached an agreement with managers and will return to work Wednesday, the union announced

The essential workers at Four Seasons Rehabilitation and Nursing in Westland "won this agreement because we joined together and raised our voices, demanding the pay, protections and basic respect every essential worker deserves,” said Carolyn Cole, a certified nursing assistant who works there, in a statement from SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

A sign on the side door of Four Season Rehabilitation and Nursing where workers have walked off the job, stating unfair labor practices in Westland, Michigan on October 19, 2020.

“This is just the latest victory we get to celebrate as nursing home workers in Detroit. By coming together in our union, we’ve proved essential workers are stronger when we stand together, whether that’s on the strike line or at the ballot box, casting our votes for leaders who will be in this fight for economic and racial justice with us.”

Four Seasons officials did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. 

On Monday, Four Seasons workers walked off the job at the facility near Newburgh over what they called unfair labor practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The home is part of a chain where workers represented by the SEIU Healthcare Michigan union have been negotiating a contract. 

The Four Season workers said they were working without a contract or enough personal protective equipment. They also sought better pay and staffing levels, among other demands.

Workers at Four Seasons Rehabilitation and Nursing walk off the job Monday morning, stating unfair labor practices, in Westland, Michigan on October 19, 2020.

Their strike drew support from elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit.

They returned to the picket line Tuesday. By 11 p.m., representatives for the workers said they had won a "strong agreement" with the Four Seasons owner after months of negotiations that addresses unfair labor practices and lifts wages.

Details on the pact were not released.

“The Covid-19 pandemic exposed a crisis in nursing homes that has been hurting residents, workers and entire communities for far too long,” said Ashley Stewart, another Four Seasons worker. “We knew we had to fight for what’s right, and our campaign did what it was supposed to do: it sent a strong message that nursing home workers will not back down until our homes set the standard for safe workplaces, good jobs and the highest quality care.”

The workers said their victory followed other groups reaching agreements with union members in Metro Detroit.

Reporter Charlie Ramirez contributed.