As more than 30,000 Stop & Shop employees in New England continue their strike amid labor negotiations, thousands of nurses may be forming their own picket lines as they prepare to go on strike.
The Health Care Workers Union sent out strike notices to nearly two dozen Connecticut nursing homes over the weekend, as approximately 2,500 employees have been working without a contract since 2015 and have only seen a 2 percent raise during that time.
The nurses in 20 nursing homes voted to approve a strike that will take place on May 1 by a 1,449 to 78 vote. The strike is expected to impact several Fairfield County nursing homes. In response, the state’s Department of Public Health is making emergency moves to find replacement nurses in the event of a walkout.
“Wages for nursing home workers have remained stagnant, with just a 2 percent increase, since 2015,” the union wrote in a statement announcing their plans over the weekend. According to reports, the average nurse makes between $13 and $15 an hour.
At a press conference this week, Careene Reid, a certified nurse at the Trinity Center Hill nursing home said that she has received one raise in the past four years, for 27 additional cents an hour.
“Since 2015, I have received one raise of 27 cents,” she said. “I spend more time working than I spend with my own family.” Reid went on to note that many Connecticut nursing homes are understaffed, stating that, “the only time we are fully staffed is when the state is in the building.”
A spokesperson for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont - whose most recent budget did not include raises for nursing home employees - said “we sincerely appreciate and respect the valuable work completed in the nursing homes and hope productive discussions continue between the unions and the owners in order to avoid a strike.”
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