Connecticut House speaker assures striking home care workers a wage increase
Connecticut House Speaker Matt Ritter has assured striking group home workers that they’ll get a wage increase in the state’s next two-year budget.
Democratic leaders have negotiated a 5% increase over the next two years for the striking workers.
That falls short of the 7-9% wage increase that the workers have demanded.
“We know it’s not enough. But if you look at this budget, I think the general feeling is we are living within our means and being sustainable,” Ritter said. He pushed back on the demand by workers union, SEIU 1199 New England’s demand that some of the state’s budget surplus be used to provide an additional $200 million in Medicaid funding that would generate another $200 in matching federal funds.
“The problem six, seven, eight years ago is that you give somebody a lot of money and you’d cut it back the next year,” said the speaker.
About 1,700 group home and day care workers who provide care for individuals with disabilities across the state launched an indefinite strike on Wednesday.
“Our fight is not with ASI, with Oak Hill, with Mosaic, with Caring Community, with Networks, okay — it is with the legislature. It is a political strike," said Rob Baril, president of SEIU 1199. "Our solutions do not come from our bosses; our solutions come from the folks that work in this building and in the Capitol”.
Striking workers are expected to be picketing at the Capitol, as well as at their work sites, demanding that lawmakers pass what they call a “moral budget.”
The workers are seeking an entry-level wage increase from $17.25 to $25 an hour which they say would lift both union and nonunion group home workers out of poverty.