Governor calls for nursing home tax to avert worker strike

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Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell is urging lawmakers to pass a proposed 6% tax, or user fee, on nursing homes to avoid a possible worker strike next month at many of the state's nursing homes.

The proposed tax might allow the state to raise nearly $120 million, which the federal government will match.  The governor hopes the extra revenue will allow nursing homes in the state to settle with the unions as a possible strike draws closer at some homes.

Nearly 4,000 unionized nursing home workers statewide chose earlier this month to continue working even though their contracts expired.
 
The union is seeking 5% pay hikes in each of the next four years, the implementation of a minimum pay scale and the assumption of more
health-benefit costs by employers. It also wants staffing increases.
 
Union leaders have set a negotiation deadline of April 13 for the nursing homes owned by ICare Management and Spectrum Healthcare and April 25 for other nursing home owners.

Employees struck homes around the state when they failed to reach contracts in 2001.

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