The union representing Connecticut’s nursing home workers, SEIU 1199 of New England, and nursing home owners are expected to approve an 11th-hour agreement brokered by Gov. Ned Lamont brokered to avoid a strike.
Workers at dozens of nursing homes across the state were prepared to go on strike Friday if no agreement was reached on wages and staffing levels.
“The nursing home operators, and [the union representing the workers] have gotten together and we have a basic agreement, which is a four-year deal that puts front and center our nurses who have been there at the nursing homes taking care of our seniors through thick and thin over the last 14 months,’’ Lamont said at a late Thursday afternoon press conference, reported Courant.com.
For the governor’s part, he proffered a four-year package that would increase state funding to the nursing home industry by $47.3 million in fiscal 2022 and $121.1 million in fiscal 2023, representing wage increases of 4.5% in 2022 and 6.2% the following year with no raises scheduled in the final two years of the contract.
Under the terms of the agreement, certified nursing assistants’ hourly pay rate would be raised from $12 to $15 to $20 over the course of the agreement. Licensed practical nurses would earn an hourly minimum of $30.
The contract includes a pension for workers and additional contributions to cover health insurance and wellness programs. Although it is likely that both parties will sign off on the four-year plan, it is not yet a done deal. The union called off the strike for Friday, but a walkout could still happen on June 7 if the contract is not ratified by then.
“The union must reach agreements with each nursing home operator, Lamont said. “Right now, all the early indications are that 1199, the union, feels very confident that this is a good agreement.”