Home Fairfield Strike averted at Whole Life Inc., health care provider with Bridgeport location

Strike averted at Whole Life Inc., health care provider with Bridgeport location

A new contract has been reached between the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU, and Whole Life Inc., which provides group home and day program workers at locations around the state, including in Bridgeport.

nursing home workers connecticutThe agreement, which is expected to be ratified by union members, will avert a strike that SEIU had threatened would begin today.

Whole Life Inc., operating over 39 locations with over 300 workers in the Bridgeport (54 Leighton Road), Central and Eastern Connecticut areas, is the second community programs agency to reach an agreement with the union based on the additional Medicaid funding allocated by the state for the next two years. Network Inc. settled last week.

“Once again we make historic progress in advancing the lives of Black, Latina and white working-class caregivers who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic,” said Rob Baril, president of District 1199 New England, SEIU. “These dedicated workers are getting a significant improvement on wages, with increases in health insurance and pension contributions so those new wages can go in their pockets.”

The new agreement is retroactive to July 31 and expires in March 2023. Minimum rates will start at $16.50 per hour, with a $17.25 per hour minimum in 2022. Other raises range from 9% over two years for the most senior to no less than 7% over two years. Juneteenth was recognized as a new paid holiday.

Workers will also see up to 90% coverage of insurance premiums, with most senior staff paying $20 biweekly, and an increase in pension contributions to 9.5%. The agreement also establishes that they will not lose any accrued paid time off for two years to protect them from losing time off due to short staffing around Covid.

Additional compensation will also be provided for mandated shifts and locations. The parties also agreed to track and review disciplinary action to address concerns of potential racial and gender discrimination.

However, members of District 1199 persist in their intent to strike at Sunrise Healthcare, based in Danbury, and Alternative Services (ASI), headquartered in Colchester. That would affect roughly 160 and 100 workers respectively, effective Oct. 12 at 6 a.m. More strike votes are underway at multiple community program group home agencies.

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