November 19, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
A tentative contract agreement announced Nov. 10 between 1199 SEIU New England and 20 Connecticut nursing homes will raise pay for certified nursing assistants to $15 an hour—retroactive to July 1 if it’s ratified.
The union hopes the deal, which would cover 2,600 workers at nursing homes owned by iCare and Genesis, will set a national standard for nursing assistants, who are now commonly paid $10-12. Workers represented by 1199 at seven Paradigm Healthcare facilities are still in contract talks. “We’re hoping the momentum continues into other homes and into other professions, even home care workers and child care and people who are really struggling with these low wages,” said 1199 New England spokesperson Jennifer Schneider.
It is dramatic, especially seeing that jump from $11 to $15.” Financing the raise may be problematic, however. The state has appropriated $26 million, including federal Medicaid funds, for the Department of Social Services to help reimburse nursing homes for wage increases, but Matthew V. Barrett, executive vice president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said he doubts that will be enough to cover paying all certified nursing assistants $15, although he called it “a major step forward. Read more