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Union Voices Support for Nursing Home Funding
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Carmen Boudier, a District 1199 official, says that she'll continue to lobby lawmakers until she sees progress.: Photo By Lucy NalpathanchilCarmen Boudier, a District 1199 official, says that she'll continue to lobby lawmakers until she sees progress.: Photo By Lucy NalpathanchilHealthcare workers will continue to lobby lawmakers for an increase in nursing home funding-- even after the close of the legislative session.

"What do we want? To give good care. When do we want it? Now."

Union members with District 1199 want a four percent increase in the state budget for nursing home care. Faced with a multimillion dollar deficit, state lawmakers and Governor Rell have agreed to make no changes to the biennial budget approved last year.

Carmen Boudier is a former nursing home worker in West Hartford. She says staffing is one of the first areas to be cut when nursing homes face tight budgets.

“It can’t get any worse in what we’ve read in like thirty newspapers. [It was] front page of the Hartford Courant about the problem, we had a huge press conference where everybody says that we have to do something this year-- and we end up with doing nothing. It’s not acceptable.”

The union represents 7,000 nursing home workers in Connecticut. Union officials worry that workers will deal with unmanageable caseloads in an industry already plagued by the highest rate in workers' compensation claims.

Jeanette Bailey-Spence works at Oak Hill, a private service provider for the disabled.

“There’s a lot of cut backs that Oak Hill is now putting in place. If we don’t get the money put into the budget, it’s going to affect our raises, our healthcare, our care to the individuals that we serve-- the whole entire gambit. It’s gonna affect us big time.”

Union officials say that it's not too early to lobby lawmakers for the next legislative session.