Please see the quote below for SEIU 1199NE President Rob Baril’s statement on the state budget.
“Union group home and day program caregivers will continue striking until we settle contracts with the six agencies affected by the strike. But the funding allocated in this budget will not be enough to end poverty for Connecticut’s long-term caregivers for individuals with disabilities.
The additional Medicaid funding of $125 million to $150 million for this sector of workers is a start, yet far short of what caregivers need. With more than a decade of austerity budgets, Medicaid services for individuals with disabilities were underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars since 2008. This is a clear illustration that the state budget is crushing publicly funded workers.
We are thankful for the state leaders that fought with us for the funding necessary to achieve economic justice in this vital healthcare sector. Despite our disappointment, we thank Gov. Ned Lamont and Chief of Staff Jonathan Dach, House Speaker Matt Ritter and Senate President Martin Looney for allocating additional investments in this historically undervalued workforce.
Clients and workers deserve so much more. Government has the responsibility to do so much more. This forces our movement for living wages to come back stronger to raise standards for publicly funded workers. Our fight to end poverty for long-term care providers continues.”
Over 1,700 group home and day program caregivers began striking on Wednesday, May 24, at six agencies that provide services for 1,500 individuals with disabilities: Oak Hill, Mosaic, Whole Life, Network, Caring Community, and Alternative Services, Inc. These long-term caregivers are demanding a pathway to $25/hr minimum wage, affordable healthcare, and funding for retirement after decades of service.
SEIU District 1199NE, the New England Health Care Employees Union, represents over 25,000 caregivers in Connecticut and some 4,000 in Rhode Island. Historically known as “1199” going back to the Civil Rights Movement, we are a bold, democratic Union with a long activist tradition fighting for racial and economic justice to improve the lives of Black, Latina, Native American, AAPI, and white working-class communities.
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