By Ali Bauman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nursing home workers flooded Midtown on Wednesday, rallying for higher wages.

The large crowd drew some big names, including Gov. Kathy Hochul.

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Health care workers from hundreds of different facilities across the state stood together as one outside the 1199 Union headquarters, demanding what they believe is a fair contract.

Thousands of nursing home workers marched from Times Square to their union headquarters on Seventh Avenue on Wednesday, calling for higher wages, safer working conditions and better health benefits.

The group represents 33,000 nursing home workers from 250 facilities across the Tri-State Area.

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The 1199 Union says caregivers have been in contract negotiations since August with the owners of these for-profit nursing homes.

Many told CBS2’s Ali Bauman this stalled agreement is a slap in the face to workers who risked their lives caring for the sick and elderly throughout the entire pandemic.

“All you’re asking for in return is not to be called somebody’s hero, but all you’re saying is just give me a little respect,” Hochul told the crowd.

“You can’t get the proper healthcare benefits. You can’t get dental. You can’t get glasses, you understand. You can’t even get proper food to put on your table,” said Avril King, a certified nursing assistant with King David Nursing Home.

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Workers tell CBS2 they will continue fighting for a fair contract and are willing to strike if they do not reach an agreement.

Ali Bauman