What You Need To Know About A CT Nursing Home Strike
Play • 13 min

Nursing home workers and Connecticut are still at an impasse over a new contract. The state’s largest health care union has said it will strike as soon as Friday at 26 homes, with other strikes possible in the following weeks.

Workers are asking for a pay raise, to $20 an hour, a hike of as much as 33%. The union said that could cost the state more than $200 million per year. 

And nursing home operators say they need more than $300 million just to cover losses and cost increases from the pandemic. 

The Lamont administration has made what it calls its “last and best offer” to the union. The Governor’s proposal includes $280 million additional funding over two years:

  • $150 million over the next two fiscal years that would primarily fund 4.5% raises for all nursing home workers in Connecticut — not just those threatening to strike.
  • $20 million for a one-time enhancement to workers’ retirement benefits.
  • $12.5 million to fund hazardous pay bonuses;
  • $13.5 million for enhanced training and staff development;
  • And a temporary, 10% increase in facilities’ Medicaid rates worth $86 million between this July and March 2022. These funds would go largely to mitigate lost revenues and added expenses homes have faced.

The Lamont administration pointed out that their package is about four times the increase that nursing homes normally get. 

But Keith Phaneuf, who covers the state budget for The Connecticut Mirror, said those numbers are deceiving. “Over the last 14 years, nursing homes have probably gotten a 1% increase on average,” he said. “So it's not that hard to beat that, fourfold.”

Phaneuf said workers have cited difficult and dangerous working conditions, and not enough staffing during the pandemic, which hit state nursing homes hard

He said some Democratic lawmakers are pushing the administration to acknowledge that the mostly Black and Latino workers have been hailed as “heroes” over the last year.

Senator Gary Winfield, the Democrat from New Haven really kind of summed it up well, he said, you know, you can give folks all these accolades, but there's no equity without revenue,” Phaneuf said.  

“Meaning unless the state puts its dollars behind these types of statements like Black Lives Matter and nursing home workers are heroes. They're empty statements,” he said.

4,000 employees could go out on strike over the next few weeks. You can read more from the Connecticut Mirror at ctmirror.org.

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