HARTFORD, Conn. — Over three thousand nursing home workers across the state are prepared to go on strike if the state does not provide them with better wages and benefits.
"We're tired of not getting the respect we so much deserve," said Nedra Williams, nursing assistant of Parkville Care Center. Williams will be one of the thousands of caregivers in the state who plan on picketing outside their nursing homes come May 14th.
"We're black and brown women working in a nursing home, and we work tirelessly throughout this pandemic. We have gone above and beyond for our residents, working short, we don't have any PPE to work with," added Williams.
She said at the start of the pandemic last year, the lack of PPE led her and others to wear garbage bags as a backup. Ultimately, it is up to the state to provide additional funding so workers like Williams can be met with better wages and benefits, and more staffing.
"I go into work in the morning so afraid because I don't know which one of my residents that I take care of is going to die. I have to actually go in and sit there with residents while they just ... die," added Williams.
The union emphasized the effect it will have on patients if the workers go on strike, something that will impact 33 nursing homes in the state.
"That really means putting in the kind of funding provide the proper care, to have the proper staffing, to be able to have caregivers make affordable wages that don't require them to be working 80, 90, 100 hours and two and three jobs," said Suzanne Clark of District 1199 New England, SEIU.
Matthew Barrett with the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities released this statement in part:
“It is simply unreasonable and unrealistic to expect nursing home operators to enter into costly multi-year increased funding commitments to address collective bargaining issues without the resources needed to pay for those increased costs.”
Barrett added his members may not be able to find replacement workers to staff their facilities if these walkouts continue.