Nursing Home Employees Hope for Saginaw ARPA Pay Raise

Underpaid, overworked, and disrespected- that’s how a number of Saginaw nursing home employees say they feel after recent state pay raises for nurses.

Several employees from Hoyt Nursing and Rehab Centre in Saginaw spoke during this week’s city council public input session before a chamber full of their coworkers.

The four speakers asked for some of the incoming American Rescue plan Act funds to be allocated for nursing home pay raises, after they say they felt excluded from the raises added to this year’s state budget for frontline essential workers.

One of those employees speaking before council, Adam Olivarez, says he didn’t receive anything special for being an essential worker except a COVID-19 infection.

Hoyt Nursing & Rehab center employee Adam Olivarez speaking before Saginaw City Council (Photo- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

According to the Michigan Healthcare Service Employees International Union, who organized the gathering of Hoyt nursing employees: the State budget signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave essential workers including nurses and certified nursing assistants a $2.35 raise as of September, but that increase does not include nursing home employees.

Catherine ‘Cookie’ Davis says throughout the pandemic she’s been working hard helping those in the care of Hoyt, and wants to know why everyone will call her and her coworkers “Heroes” but not pay accordingly.

While the members of the SEIU did not say how much they were asking for, City council is still holding ARPA input sessions. If it were to implement a pay raise with ARPA funds, Saginaw would be the first in the state to do this for nursing home employees.