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Settlement in weekslong SEIU strike reached

The heath care union walked out in May.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Thursday, SEIU 1199 announced their three-week-long strike ended. A settlement was reached with the union and six private nonprofits that provide services for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

"We are appreciative of the efforts of the Governor, his chief of staff, Speaker Ritter, Senate President Looney, a number of other legislators," said SEIU 1199's president Rob Baril. "There were a lot of people who wound up making decisions that were supportive of these workers."

The union said the new contracts start July 1 and cover the next two years, with an option to reopen negotiations after the first year. 

Direct care providers will be receiving raises of approximately $1.25 an hour or more in the first year, bringing hourly wages for approximately 20,000 workers from $17.25 to about $18.50.

"Those are real dollars that make a difference toward people's lives," Baril said. "I think what we did not achieve was the type of transformational change that really is needed afterward after a decade and a half of funding stagnation."

Over 1,700 group home and day program caregivers began striking Wednesday, May 24, at six agencies that provide services for 1,500 individuals with disabilities: Oak Hill, Mosaic, Whole Life, Network, Caring Community, and Alternative Services, Inc. 

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Lamont released the following statement:

"I applaud the workforce and their private provider employers for working together to reach agreements on wages and benefits. These workers provide care to some of the most vulnerable in our state, and we appreciate the services they provide. With the assistance of funding provided by the recently enacted bipartisan budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025, these labor agreements will support wage increases that will help with recruitment and retention of essential staff. This budget provides broad-based assistance for our private providers and grant opportunities to support infrastructure improvements, and thus improve care. The budget also provides real economic relief for many of our direct care staff and working families through the largest personal income tax cut in state history, an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, and significant investments in affordable housing."

Doug Stewart is the Senior Digital Content Producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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