Group home and day program members of the New England Health Care Employees Union, SEIU 1199NE, agreed to new contracts at six agencies in recent days, ending a weekslong strike that sought to end poverty for long-term caregivers.
The new contracts cover the next two years, starting on July 1, 2023, with an option to reopen negotiations after the first year. Direct care providers will be receiving raises of approximately $1.25 an hour or more in the first year.
“We have achieved agreements that we are proud of with the six agencies. In some cases, folks are getting long overdue seniority raises up to 14% at some agencies,” said union President Rob Baril. “We know that the struggle to end poverty for long-term caregivers must continue. But the real victory is that our leaders and workers clearly understand that we are leading a movement that will eventually lift all long-term care and essential workers out of poverty.”
Connecticut’s state budget included $150 million in additional Medicaid funds for group home and day program providers. These funds were added on to the budget bill during SEIU 1199NE’s strike against poverty at the State Capitol. The biennial budget also included $50 million in bonding to repair and improve facilities at group home and day program agencies.
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 will continue to fight for 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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