Long-term care workers in Wyoming vote to join the USW

Workers at a long-term care facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., are now USW members after voting to join the union earlier this month.

The 40 new members work at Edgewood Healthcare Sierra Hills in a variety of positions, including Registered Nurses (RN), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), dietary aides, housekeepers, bus drivers, and more.

Taylor Ewig, who has worked as a CNA at the facility for nine years, said the most important issues that she and her co-workers hope to address are staffing levels and wages.

“During night shift, there are only two CNAs taking care of 80 patients,” Ewig said. “We also have a number of hospice patients who require a higher level of care.”

This is one of the many reasons why the group reached out to the AFL-CIO last December and were connected to the USW. Within just three days, they were able to collect enough cards to file for a union election.

District 11 Staff Representative William Wilkinson, who worked with Ewing during the drive, said this excitement reveals what he’s known for a while—that Wyoming is ripe for organizing.

“These deeply red states pay sub-par wages and safety is not prioritized,” said Wilkinson. “They’re also changing expectations regularly. That alone is driving a lot of organizing there right now.”

Ewig said she looks forward to getting to the table and being able to talk honestly with management about how to improve conditions.

“I’m just so proud of all my co-workers for coming together and doing this,” Ewig said. “We’ve never been so close.”

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