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Nursing home workers strike for $15 hourly wage

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 23:19:46-04

Caregivers at two West Palm Beach nursing homes went on strike Thursday, asking for a raise to $15 an hour.

Organizers say 19 nursing homes in the state are going on strike, potentially the largest private healthcare strike in the Southeast in a decade.

Workers there have been pushing for better conditions and pay for the past year. 

"Some days I'm borrowing money from my parents," said Kia Crawford, a caregiver at Renaissance Health and Rehabilitation. "I'm a full time worker. I'm a full time student. I have other bills, medical bills and food expenses."

Across the country Thursday workers organized strikes, supporting the Fight for 15 campaign, which hopes to raise the minimum wage. In the past, these strikes have involved mostly employees from the fast food industry. Thursday, healthcare and childcare workers joined the fight.

Their union says it plans to continue negotiations after the strike. However, if there is no resolution, it says more strikes could come. 

In reaction to the protests, Consulate Health Care released the following statement:

"While we are disappointed in the union’s decision to strike, the continuity of patient and resident care will remain unaffected thanks to the combined efforts of our dedicated staff and compassionate fellow care center volunteers. We will continue to work in good faith, as we have always done, towards a resolution.”