Nursing home workers spread love, awareness for Valentine’s Day campaign

Workers at the Bishop Noa nursing home in Escanaba, Mich., took their campaign for a first contract to the city of Marquette for a Valentine’s Day full of action, communication, and love.

Debbie Lyle, a Bishop Noa employee for 38 years, works in environmental services and sits on the unit’s negotiating committee for USW Local 2-21. She and her fellow workers voted to join the union in 2017, and their employer has remained steadfast in their refusal to bargain in good faith.

To continue raising awareness about their fight for a fair first contract, the group of care workers drove to Marquette on Friday, Feb. 14, and leafletted at the UP 200, one of the top sled-dog races in the Midwest. They used the opportunity to talk to residents and several local politicians about their desire and need for a voice on the job.

“It was a really good time,” said Lyle. “People were listening and seemed concerned.”

Lyle and her fellow workers walked the area with a large poster reading “Be Fair to Those Who Care,” and they shone a Bat-Signal light of sorts with the message “Bishop Noa Unfair” blasted onto a building in Marquette. They also made Valentine’s Day cards, which were delivered to their residents at the home.

The activists have had to get creative in their efforts to push the Bishop Noa board to the table. Earlier this year, they hosted a dinner and invited all the board members—not a single one showed. No upcoming negotiations are scheduled, which is frustrating for Lyle and her fellow workers who have been pounding the pavement for two and a half years.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my entire life, just trying to fight to keep what we have and trying to do what’s right for everybody,” said Lyle.

You can stay up to date on the workers’ campaign and support their efforts by visiting and liking the We Support Bishop Noa Workers page on Facebook.

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