Conn. (WTNH) — The state and the 1199NE nursing home caregivers union have come to a ‘basic’ agreement to avoid a strike, Governor Ned Lamont announced Thursday afternoon.
The strike – which was to involve nearly 4,000 nursing home workers at nearly 40 facilities across the state – was set to start Friday, May 14.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Gov. Lamont confirmed the postponement of the strikes following a tentative settlement between the facility owners and healthcare employees union.
Over the last 24 hours, the back and forth has been positive and the tentative deal on the table is now a four-year deal.
Gov. Lamont said the basic agreement involves the workers receiving a “significant raise” over the course of four years. Workers would get 10.7% wage increases at a cost of $267-million.
“I am very hopeful at this point,” the governor said, “that that strike has been averted.”
Jesse Martin, the VP of SEIU 1199 said, “By 2023, CNAs will be making $20 an hour, LPNS, licensed practical nurses will be making $30 an hour.”
Gloria Plumber, a Certified Nursing Assistant, added, “During the pandemic, we were called heroes and essential workers, but yet we are not treated as heroes or essential workers. We should not have to be treated this way begging, or offered crumbs. We are better than that, we are bigger than that, we deserve a decent living wage.”
WEB EXTRA: Gov. Lamont announces ‘basic’ deal to avoid nursing home workers strike
The trade-off: no bonuses, but there will be a bump in pension payments. The union and nursing home owners have to sign off on the tentative deal.
As of 6:30 p.m., the Lamont administration had received copies of stroke postponement notices to 26 nursing homes from District II99, SEIU.
The governor’s office said, “Copies of the union’s strike withdrawal notices were received by the Connecticut Department of Public Health late this afternoon from nursing homes owned by iCare Health Network, Genesis Healthcare, and Autumn Lake Healthcare.”
“This agreement provides unprecedented wage increases for the nursing home workers who have shown their dedication to so many loved ones over the past year,” Governor Lamont said. “It also provides security for thousands of nursing home residents across our state. This agreement represents a commitment from the state and industry operators to ensure these workers are compensated fairly for their work, and a long-term commitment which provides predictability for both staff and patients.”
With the official receipt of the union postponement notice, the state Department of public health has suspended its nursing home strike monitoring plan, including the National Guard.
As of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the state says, “The union strike withdrawal notices to the 26 facilities reference a postponed strike date of June 7, joining a previously noticed date of May 28 for another 13 nursing homes. These are technically in effect, pending contract settlement between the owners and union.”
The State legislature ultimately has to pass the package within the state budget.
Replacement workers flew in Wednesday night and are standing at the ready should they be needed. There is a cost to all of that, but for now it appears there is a solid deal on the table for all to consider.
The President of the Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities Matt Barrett released a statement to News 8 Thursday saying, “Nursing home residents, their families, caregivers, and the operators all can rest easier tonight with this critically important breakthrough achievement.”