“The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on long-standing problems in the long-term care industry — problems like low wages, short staffing, and high turnover. We knew these issues had to be addressed, and together, workers and Avamere management embarked on a months-long process to set new standards for our industry.
“This contract includes meaningful wage increases, better staffing, and an enhanced training program for new hires, and that’s just scratching the surface. What it really means is respect — respect for workers, respect for patients and residents, and respect for Avamere facilities and communities across the state. Long-term care is incredibly meaningful and important work. It deserves to be respected.
“Avamere is now an industry leader for workers, patients, and residents. We are committed to keeping it that way for years and decades to come.”
Here are the key points in the new contract:
- Reducing turnover: Turnover is a critical metric in long-term care. The new wage, staffing, working environment, and training standards will go a long way toward retaining staff and improving the quality-of-care people receive.
- Wages: This contract raises wages to reduce turnover and provide patients and residents with consistent, high-quality care. The new contract includes an $18 per hour wage floor (for CNAs), which will be as much as a $4 raise for some workers. This is the highest wage floor in the industry in Oregon.
- Staffing: This contract addresses staffing shortages to ensure patients and residents receive the level of support they need. Avamere has agreed to implement an acuity-based staffing pilot for CNAs. Acuity-based staffing considers the needs of patients and residents, not just their numbers. The contract also creates staffing ratios for CMAs and housekeeping staff, which is above and beyond what’s required by law.
- Training: New training standards will ensure newly hired CNAs are mentored before being added to shifts. The contract creates a preceptor program, common in the healthcare industry, in which CNAs will have the time and support they need to train new hires. The contract also includes a commitment to improve training above what’s required by law, with details to be worked out in a labor-management committee.
- Career ladders: The new contract creates career ladders by increasing wages for CNA2s, which is a higher level of certification. This will help retain employees who seek career advancement.
- A voice for workers: The new contract creates a labor-management committee where workers and company leadership can collaborate on issues year-round. The contract also creates a pathway for non-union facilities and communities in the company to join the union through a “card check” process, which is an expedited way for workers to join the union.