The union representing workers at 20 Connecticut nursing homes has withdrawn a strike notice, saying it’s seen meaningful commitment to find new funding for employees.
The removal of the deadline means that workers will not walk off the job May 1 as they had threatened, although a strike vote remains in place.
The walkout could have involved 2,500 workers and affected some 3,000 nursing home patients.
Pedro Zayas, the spokesperson for SEIU Local 1199, told Connecticut Public Radio the union is optimistic about a settlement.
“We have been in conversations with the governor and legislators to advocate for members and funding for nursing home workers and we feel that meaningful progress is being achieved," he said. "Certainly the strike is a last resort for us, we would never go on strike if we feel progress is being made.”
Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities, said in a statement Thursday that by avoiding a strike, nursing home residents won't be separated from their caregivers while a deal is worked out.
The majority of nursing home residents are funded through Medicaid, so pay for workers is heavily dependent on Medicaid reimbursement rates set by the legislature.
Those reimbursement rates will be a crucial part of state budget negotiations which are just getting underway at the capitol.
"Our nursing home operators had been encouraging all parties to stay at the bargaining table and remain fully engaged in the ongoing Connecticut state budget appropriations process where the core issue of badly-needed increased Medicaid resources for nursing homes is pending and can be addressed," Barrett said.