Frontline caregivers are set to go on strike Tuesday, October 12, at 6:00AM, at all Sunrise Inc. facilities in Connecticut in demand of livable wages, affordable health insurance and a pension for a workforce that is majority Black, Latina and working-class white women making poverty wages.
Sunrise operates 28 group home and day programs serving over 160 individuals in multiple locations across the state with 149 District 1199 New England union workers in Brooklyn, Columbia, Danielson, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Hartford, Hebron, Lebanon, Manchester, Mansfield, New London, New Milford, Old Lyme, Pomfret, Vernon, Waterford and Enfield.
“Most of these workers are making less than $17 an hour. They have to pay $6,000 in monthly premiums for family health insurance coverage at Sunrise, and no retirement pension to look forward to in their elder years,” said Rob Baril, president of District 1199NE. “Even after workers were able to leverage more than $184 million in additional state funding from Governor Ned Lamont’s administration, Sunrise continues to deny a fair contract for its own workers while the CEO rakes in $325,000 per year.”
So far, nearly 1,000 union workers have signed new contracts with their group home and day program agencies, with up to 20% increases in wages for workers with the lowest salaries, 90% reduction in health insurance premiums and additional contributions for retirement including 100 caregivers at ASI who also had a strike deadline pending for Tuesday at 6:00 AM. The strike notice for ASI was rescinded Monday afternoon.
“I’m tired. I’m drained. I’ve been at Sunrise for 24 years. It’s time that they do the right thing. No one at our agency takes insurance because it is not affordable. We haven’t had a pay raise in 15 years,” said direct support professional Jennifer Brown. “We are dependable. We are reliable. Everything is going up. They have money for the pension. We deserve to have everything that the governor said we deserve. He told us we could have a pension. He told us we could have affordable health insurance.”
Picket lines will be forming at these four Connecticut locations Tuesday, starting at 6:00 AM:
- 80 Whitney Street, Hartford
- 474 Rt. 87, Columbia
- 729 Montauk Avenue, New London
- 116 Hawkins Street, Danielson
What: Caregivers strike for dignity: livable wages, affordable health insurance and a retirement pension
When: Tuesday, October 12th, at 6:00 AM
Where: Multiple locations (see above)
Who: SEIU District 1199 New England group home and day program workers
Livestream Feed: https://www.facebook.com/NEHCEU1199
Media Contact: Pedro Zayas, email@example.com, 860-830-2478
District 1199, SEIU, New England Health Care Employees Union