Workers at twenty nursing homes across Connecticut are preparing to strike if their salary demands are not met. According to the Fox 61, caregivers represented by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, plan to strike on June 3 if the state does not increase its wages. According to the local news report, nursing home staffers did not receive a raise in 2017 or 2018. Last year, the raise was only 2 percent – less than the annual rate of inflation and adding only 30 cents for “most workers.” Under the current budget, nursing home staff will not receive any raise in 2019 or 2012. The nursing union says it will not call off the strike unless all caregivers receive a 4 percent increase in wages. The estimated cost would be $40 million, according to labor officials.
According to the nurse’s union, stagnate wages for another two years would be unacceptable. “More than 2,500 nursing home caregivers will be forced to walk out of their jobs until proper funding is provided to raise their take-home pay,” Rob Baril, president of SEIU 1199 New England, told Fox 61. According to Baril, “some members” of the nurses union are currently making “as little as $10.93 an hour.” Baril did not mention how many caregivers in his union made such low salaries before noting that the hourly pay was less than one dollar higher than the state’s minimum wage. Baril says that the union will not call off its strike unless all caregivers receive a 4 percent raise.
The union and state have been operating without a contract since 2015. After failing to reach an agreement for the last four years, the negotiations this year have been unsurprisingly fraught. Just last week, SEIU 119 New England called off a nursing strike originally set to take place on May 1. According to the union, state officials agreed to continue negotiations with the union if it rescheduled the walk-out. Now, an estimated 7,000 nurses plan to walk off the job on June 3 if a new agreement between the union and the state is not signed. Given four years of fruitless negotiations and stagnant pay, it seems likely the nursing home caregivers in Connecticut will be striking next month.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents. Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.