Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Aides Strike at Sisters of Mercy Affiliate near Detroit

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Aides Strike at Sisters of Mercy Affiliate near Detroit

Article excerpt

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- About 60 nursing home workers who had been protesting inside the headquarters of Mercy Health Services were escorted out of the building by three city police officers here July 18.

Mercy Health Services, MHS, is a health care conglomerate sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Detroit.

The workers, representing nurses aides from eight unionized Michigan nursing homes operated by Mercy Services for Aging, were protesting low wages, lack of pension plans and diminished staff-to-patient ratios that they say increase the risk of injuries and reduce their ability to provide high-quality care. Mercy Services for Aging is a subsidiary of MHS.

The demonstrators had entered the building through a back door after a security guard prevented access through the main entrance.

"Mercy professes to be a caring, nonprofit institution that cares for the community and the poor. But 90 percent of the people who work at the nursing homes are poor," said Nancy Darke Johnson, 40, who has worked at the Meauley Place Living Center in Muskegeon, Mich., for more than eight years. Aides like Johnson who work for Mercy Services for Aging at 15 Michigan elderly care homes earn an average of $6.50 an hour, union leaders estimated.

The demonstrators, members of Local 79 of the Service Employees International Union, shouted, "No justice, no peace," under the red crucifix and MHS logo stamped on the building where the conglomerate is housed in this upscale suburb northwest of Detroit. …

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