CHICAGO (CBS) — Five-thousand workers are planning to strike next week at 57 Chicago-area nursing homes over wages and staffing if there is not an agreement with the owners by May 4th.

The President of SEIU Healthcare, Greg Kelly, said this is not a veiled threat.

“We will strike,” he said, over wages and under-staffing.

The union represents 10,000 nursing home workers at more than 100 facilities in the Chicago area and said it chose to strike at about half of them if there is no agreement with the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities. WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.

A certified nursing assistant for nearly 20 years said she is making less than $15 an hour. Another, who said she has been on the job for 10 years, said she’s making just over $10 an hour.

The union said they have been working without a contract for more than a year and have filed numerous unfair labor complaints against the owners.

Kelly acknowledged a strike would be tough on workers already living paycheck-to-paycheck.

“It’s a hardship now, even without a strike, but our members have made the decision,” he said.

The workers said it would be difficult, too, but said they’re committed to fighting to improve pay and working conditions.

The union said it would be the largest nursing home strike in U.S. history.