Strike deadline remains in effect, pending contract settlements with nursing home owners
Nursing home workers cheered a new funding proposal of Medicaid increases for nursing homes rates that was endorsed by Governor Ned Lamont’s administration Monday night.
The proposal, with a 2% rate increase in July 1, 2019, 1% in October 1, 2020, and 1% in January 1, 2021 for all Connecticut nursing homes, is a victory for nursing home workers who are demanding wage raises and adequate staffing numbers for quality care.
“We thank Governor Lamont for taking this important first step to guarantee that caregivers get the wage raises they deserve,” said Rob Baril, president of SEIU 1199, the New England Health Care Employees Union. “We are grateful for his endorsement of Medicaid rate increases. To avert a strike, now we must make sure that this proposal is reflected in the state budget, and that contract settlements are signed with nursing home bosses.”
In a letter addressed to the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and LeadingAge Connecticut –representatives of nursing home operators— the Lamont administration stressed that the new funding “must be used to enhance employee wages and benefits.”
“I am so happy that the governor has heard us and taken action on our behalf,” said Nicole Powell, a housekeeper at Windsor Rehab for the past 10 years and mother of three children. “But our fight is not over. We all have to make sure we get contracts that move us forward.”
More than 3,000 workers at 25 nursing home facilities in Connecticut have issued strike notices, effective June 3rd. With expired contracts for the past two years, these caregivers did not receive an increase in their salaries in 2016 and 2017. They received a 2% raise in 2018 amounting to roughly 30 cents for most workers, but were not scheduled to receive raises in 2019 and 2020 if the Medicaid rate for nursing homes was flattened in the state budget.
The National Labor Relations Act requires labor unions to give health care employers a minimum notice of 10 days before going on strike.
SEIU 1199 Union members have a long history of success fighting for health care workers’ rights and quality services for people in need. We advocate for living wages for all workers -black, brown and white- and adequate resources to do our jobs well. The Union represents 26,000 health care workers in Connecticut. Some 7,000 members are nursing home workers classified as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, maintenance, receptionists, recreation and dietary staff.
- 25 NURSING HOMES AFFECTED BY STRIKE:
Nine ICare facilities:
Five Traditions facilities:
Westport Rehabilitation Complex
Long Ridge Post-Acute Care
Newington Rapid Recovery Rehab Center
West River Rehab Center
Western Rehabilitation Care Center
Four Autumn facilities:
Two National facilities:
Bloomfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
MapleView Health & Rehabilitation Center
Plus these five facilities:
Windsor Health and Rehabilitation Center
Advanced Center Nursing & Rehabilitation
West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation Center