About 177 workers at Silver Springs Care Center are ready to join 2,500 nursing home caregivers across the state in striking for wage increases and staffing ratios.
The Roy Street nursing home workers are members of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199, which represents employees at 20 nursing homes statewide. They are prepared to strike on May 1.
Silver Springs is a member of the iCare Health Network. A representative from iCare said Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature need to adjust Medicaid funding that covers wage increases for staff.
“I am honored to stand with the workers of 1199 SEIU in their courageous fight,” state Sen. Mary Abrams, D-Meriden, said in a statement. “As Senate Chair of the Public Health Committee, I am particularly concerned that low pay and understaffing in nursing homes will negatively impact patients and workers alike. Nursing home staff work tirelessly to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our population. They deserve to be compensated fairly.”
Wages of nursing home workers are stagnant, having increased just 2 percent since 2015, according to information from SEIU.
“We need to raise wages in nursing homes,” said SEIU 1199 President Rob Baril. “Most nursing home workers are women. Most are black and brown. It is a labor of love ... but you cannot pay the rent with love.”
State Sen. Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, criticized Democrats for increasing fixed costs and crowding out funding for other needs. He points to recently awarded raises for lawyers in the Attorney General’s office.
“Democrats are OK paying for state lawyers who are making over $100,000 a year to get 11% raises and stipends of $6,000 to $12,000,” Fasano said in a statement. “But they forget that such generosity eats away at funds for all other workers living paycheck to paycheck.”
The state has already approved $11.6 million over the next three years in new benefits for recently-hired state employees, according to Fasano.
“These expensive benefits for a privileged few put a bigger hole in the state budget, and crowd out funding for other needs,” Fasano said.