More than 2,000 workers at six group home agencies in Connecticut are ready to strike starting on May 21 at 6:00 AM. The six group home agencies receiving strike notifications Friday are Oak Hill, Network, Whole Life, Mosaic, Journey Found, and Sunrise at over 200 sites.
Having assisted group home residents through the Covid-19 pandemic, and having lost two members due to Covid-19 complications, workers are demanding livable wages and benefits, as well as staffing ratios that put an end to the short-staffing practices that harm both workers and residents as noted in the Long-Term Care Workers’ Bill of Rights.
- Related Media Coverage: “Group home workers join nursing home employees in massive SEIU strike threat” – Stamford Advocate
“This fight means that workers are finally going to have a chance to let go of their multiple jobs and have just one job. This fight means that workers who are putting their lives on the line and their family’s are finally going to be able to have access to affordable and quality health insurance. This fight means workers who are forced to work into their senior years finally have a chance to retire with respect and dignity and a pension,” said Stephanie Deceus, vice president for the Group Homes division of District 1199 New England, SEIU. “This fight means that the systemic racism that devalues the work of the Black, Brown, and White working-class women in the state of Connecticut will be brought to the table.”
The Union represents workers with the following job titles: direct support staff, direct support person, direct support professional, assistant program coordinator, residential day program worker, assistant teacher, and licensed practical nurse. All group home union contracts are expired.
“I’ve been doing this job for almost 25 years. I’m going out on strike because health insurance is more than $6,000 a month and there’s no pension. I’m ready to make a lot of noise to get what we deserve,” said Jennifer Brown, a direct support professional who works three jobs at Sunrise, Network and Journey Found. “To have to endure such treatment in a pandemic is unacceptable. I work alongside my daughter and that’s my fight. Because I don’t want her to have to struggle as hard as I’ve had to struggle.”
“There’s people in my company that are in charge of people’s lives and that are passing medications, and we feel that we deserve that $20 an hour minimum wage. And we deserve health insurance that we can afford,” said Kim Ackerman, direct support staff worker at Whole Life for more than 25 years.
Over 5,000 long-term care workers have now delivered strike notices with more than 2,000 group home workers today and over 3,400 nursing workers delivering strike notices last week. Workers have voted at a rate of 98 percent in favor of striking.
Sunrise bi-weekly deduction for health insurance, see page 5
Contact: Pedro Zayas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-830-2478
District 1199, SEIU, New England Health Care Employees Union