Connecticut’s largest union of healthcare workers has reached a tentative agreement to raise the minimum wage in several of the state’s nursing homes to $15 per hour.
The agreement was reached late Tuesday by SEIU 1199NE, the New England branch of the Service Employees International Union, and is expected to be ratified by workers over the coming weeks. Once finalized, the agreement would cover an estimated 2,600 certified nursing assistants at 20 Connecticut nursing homes owned by iCare and Genesis. The union is negotiating to include an additional seven facilities owned by Paradigm Healthcare in the deal.
“We’re hoping the momentum continues into other homes and into other professions, even home care workers and childcare and people who are really struggling with these low wages,” Jennifer Schneider, communications director for SEIU 1199NE, told the Associated Press.
The additional funds for the increased wages will come from $26 million in state and federal Medicaid funds added to the state budget, with an additional $9.6 authorized by the Department of Social Services for increases to employee benefits.
The wage increases will benefit Connecticut’s nursing home residents as well as workers by reducing staff turnover, Matthew Barrett, executive vice president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, told the Associated Press.