Hartford-Today a bill passed the Senate that would provide funding increases to non-profit agencies that service people with disabilities in group homes and day programs throughout the state. The bill would provide a $14.75 minimum wage and a 5% increase for workers above $14.75 effective January 1, 2019. 18,000 union and non-union workers who care for the disabled will be covered by the wage increases. The bill mirrors the proposal made by OPM Secretary Ben Barnes last week and passed the House on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
A strike of 2,500 group home workers from 9 agencies in 250 locations was set to start Monday, May 7 at 6 am. The strike is officially canceled with the passage of the Senate bill this afternoon.
“We greatly appreciate the Senate, the House and the Governor for taking up this important matter that will positively impact the lives and wages of 18,000 workers and thousands of clients across the state,” said SEIU 1199 spokesperson Jennifer Schneider. “Today the Senate ended a twelve-year draught of funding for services for the disabled in the private sector. Caring for people with disabilities is a difficult and important job and the workers who provide these services deserve to be valued. Our members have agreed to call off the strike scheduled for Monday. Passage of this bill brings much needed relief to union and non-union workers across the state who had been forced to work 80-90 hours a week due to low wages. It is our hope that moving forward these services are valued, properly funded and never again neglected.”
Earlier this month workers released an ad highlighting the struggles lack of funding has on workers and clients. Watch the ad here: