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Right-to-work group enters nursing home labor dispute

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(The Center Square) – A possible strike by a union representing nursing home workers in Illinois is drawing the attention of a right-to-work organization.

Officials from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois had threatened to call a strike on Labor Day, but have since gone back to the bargaining table.

If talks break down, employees from 11 Infinity Healthcare nursing facilities in northern Illinois will be ordered off the job.

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Vice President Patrick Semmens said workers don’t have to walk off the job if they choose not to.

“Oftentimes officials will imply that participating in a strike is mandatory, but that is not actually true under federal law,” Semmens told The Center Square.

Some union workers have complained about low wages, high turnover rates and poor staffing at nursing home facilities.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has issued a special legal notice informing workers of their rights.

Semmens said in many cases, health care workers don’t want to abandon their patients to join a picket line.

“Union bosses want to engage in a strike and see it as an impactful move, but for nurses or nursing home facility employees, they’re understandably reluctant to do that, threatening the patients’ health,” Semmens said.

Nursing home workers from the same company went on strike for 12 days in 2020 during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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