Facing the threat of a nursing home workers’ strike, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration has offered three wage increases to be phased in from July of this year through January 2021.Nursing homes that serve Medicaid patients would receive a 2% rate increase in July 2019, a 1% bump in October 2020 and a 1% raise in January 2021.
In a letter written to a pair of nursing home coalitions – the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and LeadingAge Connecticut – Melissa McCaw, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, said the governor supports those increases. Not included in Lamont’s original budget, the funds would be in addition to a 2% raise in November 2018 that was earmarked for nursing home worker wages and benefits, McCaw wrote.
The funding “as has been the practice in the past, must be used to enhance employee wages and benefits, though nursing homes may request certain exceptions to this from the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, if necessary,” McCaw wrote.
Earlier this month, more than 2,500 nursing home caregivers at 20 nursing homes, including Autumn Lake Healthcare in Norwalk, set a June 3 strike deadline to protest not having received an increase in their salaries in 2016 and 2017. Under Lamont’s original budget, they would not receive raises in 2019 and 2020.
SEIU 1199 New England, the union that represents the workers, indicated that the June 3 work stoppage could still occur if contracts are not signed by then.