Missouri nursing home workers strike over claims of unequal pay, bed bugs

Employees at St. Louis-based Hillside Manor Healthcare and Rehab Center started striking Jan. 16 over alleged unequal pay, union-busting tactics and a bed bug infestation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Jan. 16.

Hillside Manor, which is owned by Lakewood, N.J.-based Luxor Healthcare, has also allegedly been overrun with mice and cockroaches. The concerns have become so dire that city leaders plan to investigate in the coming months, according to the report.

Luxor Healthcare bought the nursing home in fall 2021. Shortly after, four union leaders and longtime employees were fired, according to Lenny Jones, state director of the union in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the employees were terminated in an attempt to subdue their organized activities. The complaint also claims Luxor Healthcare unlawfully changed employee pay and working agreements. The case also includes complaints about conditions at two other Luxor-owned facilities in St. Louis. It is expected to go to trial in February, Mr. Jones told the newspaper.

Luxor Healthcare denied the union's allegations and said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch the workers chose "to abandon the residents we serve by initiating a strike at the facility."

Luxor Healthcare said it supports union members' right to organize but denied "scurrilous allegations" about conditions at the nursing home. Luxor management said it was "disappointed" the union decided to strike "in the middle of negotiations when the parties are still actively bargaining with each other," according to the statement. "The facility remains committed to good faith negotiations."

The union, which represents about 100 employees, has been negotiating with Luxor since March. The employees seek union recognition, pay raises, pest control and basic maintenance at the facility, union steward Danielle Jackson told the newspaper.

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