Dozens of Connecticut nursing home operators are breathing a sigh of relief after an initial deal was reached that would give workers “unprecedented wage increases” over the next several years.

The move averts, at least for now, two strike efforts that could have taken thousands of workers off the job.

“Nursing home residents, their families, caregivers and the operators all can rest easier … with this critically important breakthrough achievement,” Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said in a statement Friday.

A four-year deal was confirmed by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) late Friday. It included a pledge from the state to increase Medicaid rates, specifically for wages and health benefits, by 4.5% in 2022 and 6.2% the following year. The state had previously offered to increase the rate by 4.5% in both years.

“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,” Lamont said in a statement. “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.”

The overall deal is worth $267.2 million and also includes a 10% Medicaid increase to nursing homes worth $86 million and $13 million for more training and staff development. 

Leaders for SEIU District 1199 New England postponed a scheduled strike of 2,800 workers that had been set to begin last Friday and another of 1,200 workers that was set to start May 28. Union officials are hopeful that future strike plans will be canceled once all labor agreements are finalized, according to the CT Mirror.