CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of Infinity Healthcare Management nursing home workers are on strike this morning, accusing the company of underpaying them, especially during a pandemic, among other issues.

CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe breaks down their demands.

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These caregivers say they need hazard pay, better staffing, and more personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks.

They walked off the job this morning because they said Infinity management won’t make any of those demands happen.

They are caregivers who help take care of nursing home residents, and as the nation deals with a pandemic, they are considered essential workers, but these infinity employees say they aren’t treated as such.

“Infinity refuses to offer hazard pay or deal with the crisis of short-staffing,” one worker said.

As early as 6 a.m. today, before the sun came up, close to 700 Infinity Healthcare Management caregivers represented by SEIU Healthcare went on strike at the company’s 11 nursing homes.

“If you have people who are short-staffed walking off the job, then essentially residents who deserve quality care aren’t going to receive that, and that is the responsibility of infinity,” said SIEU Healthcare executive vice president Erica Bland-Durosinmi.

Workers say their contract expired in May, and they’ve been bargaining for a new one since June, to no avail.

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Aside from better wages, another sticking point is a lack of PPE, something they say is a matter of life and death.

“There are 11 Infinity homes that are going on strike today; eight have active outbreaks of COVID. This is the facility that has the highest number of COVID cases. The Niles nursing home facility is the facility that has the highest number of nursing home deaths in the state. Of those 11 facilities, there are 1,117 deaths total,” Bland-Durosinmi said.

CBS 2 first told you about the issue back in May, when the Town of Cicero went to court with the goal of shutting down City View Multi Care Center, a nursing home run by Infinity.

At the time, 164 residents and 41 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Months later, these employees say they are on strike for change.

“We’re prepared to strike for as long as it takes. Their health is on the line, their livelihood is on the line, their family’s health is on the line,” Bland-Durosinmi said.

CBS 2 reached out to Infinity by phone and email to get their response to the workers’ claims. Their voicemail is full so we couldn’t leave a message. We also sent several emails to management and are still waiting to hear back.

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