(The Center Square) – A possible strike by a union representing nursing home workers in Illinois is attracting the attention of a right-to-work organization.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois officials had threatened to strike on Labor Day, but have since returned to the bargaining table.
If the talks fail, employees at 11 Infinity Healthcare facilities in northern Illinois will be laid off.
Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said workers are not forced to quit their jobs if they choose not to.
“Often officials imply that participating in a strike is mandatory, but that’s not true under federal law,” Semmens said at Center Square.
Some unionized workers complain of low wages, high turnover rates and understaffing in nursing homes.
The National Foundation for the Legal Defense of the Right to Work has published a special legal notice informing workers of their rights.
Semmens said in many cases healthcare workers don’t want to abandon their patients to join a picket line.
“Union leaders want to engage in a strike and see it as an important step, but nurses or nursing home workers are understandably reluctant to do so, which threatens the health of patients,” Semmens said.
Nursing home workers from the same company went on strike for 12 days in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.