Connecticut healthcare workers union announces new contracts

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Connecticut's biggest healthcare workers' union announced Wednesday that it now has contract agreements with 25 skilled nursing facilities across the state.

The contracts with the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 — which cover about 2,600 nurses, nursing assistants and support staff — include wage increases and improve employees' health insurance and pensions, according to the Hartford Courant. The new pacts last until March 15, 2015.

Four of the newest facilities came when Spectrum was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to reinstate 400 union members in May. The most recent contracts were settled in June with iCare (nine facilities) and Paradigm (six facilities). However, 3,400 union members covered by 36 contracts have not reached agreements with their employers. The largest among them is HealthBridge, which covers 800 workers, according to the newspaper.

The union's announcement follows the NLRB's proposal last week that would shorten the lag time between a union petitioning for an election and holding a secret-ballot vote, which critics charge would make unionizing a faster, easier process.