State makes offer to nursing home workers union days before strike, includes nearly $300-million package, hazard pay

Connecticut

Conn. (WTNH) — Just four days ahead of a nursing home workers strike, the state has made an offer to the workers union and nursing home industry regarding the grievances put forth about the way they were treated by the state since the start of the pandemic.

Thousands of nursing home workers from 39 facilities are set to strike starting Friday, May 14 if the state does not address their demands for more funding and resources to properly care for their patients.

Monday morning, Yale Law School Clinic released a major report on the pandemic-era nursing home conditions workers.

The union and Yale say, “The report, titled ‘We Were Abandoned: How Connecticut Failed Nursing Home Workers and Residents During the COVID-19 Pandemic,’ provides an in-depth examination of the reasons why thousands of workers are prepared to strike. Based on a comprehensive study of Department of Public Health documents and worker interviews, the report describes unsafe conditions, understaffed facilities, inadequate compensation, and lack of state oversight. It also lays out a set of policy recommendations for ensuring safe staffing, fair compensation, and quality patient care in Connecticut.”

Monday afternoon in a letter to the New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, the state thanked the union and “dedicated nursing home workers who care for roughly 18,000 residents each day.”

In the letter, they include a nearly $300-million package paid over two years to “support stabilization funds, wage enhancements, hazard pay, lump-sum retirement contributions, investments in workforce development, and enhanced access to affordable child care, all in support of residents and also nursing home workers.”

The package includes:

  • 10% Medicaid rate increase from July 1, 2021-March 31, 2022, for nursing homes that meet certain conditions.
  • Provides increases to the industry of $47.3-million in the financial year 2022 and $102.2-million in the financial year 2023. This represents a 4.5% rate increase to nursing homes in both 2022 and 2023, 100% dedicated to employee wage enhancements.
  • Provides funding to support a one-time union pension enhancement.
  • $1,000 hazard pay for direct care workers including contracted staff.
  • $741,000 towards training and upgrading funding (workforce development).
  • Expanding opportunities for eligible workers to access child care and reduce financial overhead in the short term.

READ: Full letter from State of Connecticut to New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU

We’ll have more on this story coming up on News 8 at 5 and 6p.

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