Closeup of Hispanic nurse rubbing her forehead, looking tired/stressed

Three Connecticut nursing home operators could be facing significant staffing shortages after thousands of workers announced plans to strike. 

More than 3,400 nursing home staffers at 33 facilities in the state notified its operators of plans over the weekend to strike starting May 14 in a bid to leverage better staffing ratios, and increased pay and benefits, District 1199 New England of SEIU Healthcare announced. 

Among the demands, the group has specifically called for a minimum wage of $20 an hour for all long-term care workers by 2023, recruitment and retention partnerships for affordable career training and development, and for providers to secure a three-month supply of personal protective equipment for possible future health emergencies. 

“Connecticut’s long-term care system relies on poverty wages,” union president Rob Baril said in a statement. “By going on strike we are telling nursing home operators and the state of Connecticut that we are not willing to carry the yoke of poverty any longer. It’s time for nursing home bosses and state leaders to pay these workers what they deserve.”

The facilities are owned by Genesis Healthcare, iCare Health Network, RegalCare and Autumn Lake Healthcare. 

More than 51 union contracts with nursing homes have expired in the state as of mid-March, according to SEIU. 

The Connecticut Health Care Association has previously warned that a strike could exacerbate staffing shortages and warned providers may not be able to find replacement workers, according to local media.