Nursing and rehab workers picket over low wages, long hours in Detroit

A number of workers from the Orchards, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center on Hubble in northwest Detroit were on the picket line Tuesday afternoon.

Well, it’s cold and starting to rain/snow - but that doesn’t stop caregivers -for about 100 residents and patients - who complain they’re not making enough money for the extended hours they work.

"Working with several people, many that are not even elderly, have mental behaviors, everything," said A'lese Clarke. "It’s a tough job,"

Although staffing levels, and hours are issues with a new contract - it’s the low wages, some starting at about $11 an hour- that’s the real problem.

This is not a strike. It’s an informational picket these workers are still working.

"If our voices are not heard during this informational picket, then a strike will come," said Clarke.

FOX 2 reached out to the owners of the Orchards for a comment, but none came before the deadline. But the message to management was clear:

"We take good care of our residents," said Vivian Tolbert. "We just need better pay."

The workers there say they have not had a contract since the end of October. They’re still working despite some real issues.

"If we’re not here who’s gonna take care of them?" Clarke said. "Who’s gonna be the family that they need? Who’s gonna be the air that they talk to in the shoulder that they lean on?"