Conn. Nursing Home Workers Call Off June Strike After Contract Deal | Connecticut Public Radio

Conn. Nursing Home Workers Call Off June Strike After Contract Deal

May 24, 2019

A strike threat by thousands of nursing home workers across Connecticut has been withdrawn after a large group of the nursing home facilities reached a new contract deal Friday.

Officials from the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, said more than 1,000 workers at a group of nine iCare nursing home facilities reached a new contract agreement with their employer, causing the union to call off a strike that was scheduled for June 3.

More than 3,000 nursing home workers at 25 nursing home facilities across Connecticut voted to go on strike if they didn’t see more funding for wage increases and other benefits.

Workers said they’ve had none or minimal wage increases since 2016.

“This is a major victory for our union members,” Rob Baril, union district president, said in a statement. “Now our nurses, nursing assistances and all union staff can focus on proving the best quality care possible in our nursing homes.”

Many of the nursing home facilities have large low-income populations, so they rely on state Medicaid funding and rate payments. The union, as well as other facility membership organizations, have been pressuring state lawmakers to include more money in the next state budget to better support the industry.

Nursing home industry members and workers got positive news earlier this week when officials in the state Office of Policy and Management sent a letter that stated Gov. Ned Lamont and his administration was endorsing a 2 percent payment rate increase starting in July.

“Nursing home residents, employees and operators can rest a little easier tonight knowing that Gov. Lamont and Secretary (Melissa) McCaw have made increased Medicaid funding for Connecticut nursing homes a priority at this critical time,” Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said in a statement Tuesday.

And now the new contract agreement with a large bulk of the facilities will officially end the strike notice. Union officials said contract negotiations will still continue with 16 remaining nursing homes that were involved in the strike efforts.

Lawmakers are expected to pass a final state biennial budget by the end of the legislative session.