Connecticut Nursing Home Workers Renew Strike Threats | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Nursing Home Workers Renew Strike Threats

May 9, 2019

Unionized nursing home workers have reissued a notice of their intention to strike for an increase in wages, giving legislators a new deadline Thursday.

Members of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, voted to go on strike June 3 if they don’t see more funding in the next state budget go toward wage increases for industry employees.

The strike would involve 2,500 caregivers at 20 facilities throughout Connecticut. Union officials say five nursing homes with another 600 workers may soon vote to join the strike.

“This is a last resort for workers who care dearly about the residents and patients they serve every day,” said union district president Rob Baril in a statement. “Some of our members are making as little as $10.93 per hour, or just 83 cents above the bare minimum wage. This is totally unacceptable in a wealthy state like Connecticut.”

Workers say they did not see salary increases in 2016 and 2017. They did get a raise of 2 percent—or about 30 cents—last year, but say they won’t see raises this year or the next year if state legislators don’t put additional money into the next budget.

Nursing home workers gave notice in April that they would go on strike May 1 if their demands weren’t met, but withdrew the strike notice after getting assurance from Gov. Ned Lamont’s office that negotiations were ongoing.

But as the deadline approaches for the state to approve a new budget, nursing home workers are putting more pressure on legislators.

“Our caregivers, as well as our patients and residents, and their families deserve better,” said Careene Reid, a certified nursing assistant at Trinity Hill Care Center. “But now we know we’ll have to fight in union to get the modest raises that we ask for.”