Youngstown nursing home workers hold vigil to remember COVID-19 victims

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Recent estimates say that one in three COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes

Youngstown Nursing home workers vigil

WKBN

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nursing home workers represented by the Service Employees International Union came together for a vigil Thursday evening.

Community members and STNA’s met at Youngstown City Hall, laying down flowers to reflect on lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the vigil, the union mentioned that nursing homes should carry more personal protective equipment and its workers should receive higher pay.

They believe the government should step up and protect nursing home workers’ lives.

“These are heroes. They’re on the front lines. They put their lives at risk everyday. They put their family’s lives at risk everyday, and we need to make sure they are protected,” said Michelle Pirigyi, administrator organizer.

Pirigyi says with the Care Act in place, nursing homes should be providing their staff with proper PPE.

“We still have nursing homes out here where they are wearing rain coats for gowns. They don’t have N-95 masks,” she said.

Brenda Rushton, a house keeper at a nursing home, says that her position is overlooked.

“Housekeepers, the kitchen, work, laundry, we’re not even making over $10 an hour and we’re working hard with the COVID,” Rushton said.

The conditions they work in are high risk.

“I mean, everybody’s thinking about the nurses and aids, but don’t no one ever think about the house keepers, all the people under and helping the nurses and the aids,” Rushton said.

Rushton says the reason for being at the vigil is because she wants someone to step up and to understand the value of each staff member at a nursing home.

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