Union members lobby at State Capitol for wage increases

HARTFORD -- A group of caregivers for people with disabilities gathered at the State Capitol on Wednesday to lobby for better wages.

The workers are represented by SEIU 1199 New England and work for various agencies across the state.

The group announced 2,500 workers at group homes from 250 locations across the state are willing go on strike if wages and benefits do not improve. According to SIEU 1199, starting rates at the facilities range from $12 to $14 per hour. The group was joined by Senators Robert Duff and Martin Looney and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

During the rally employees like Carol Lach and Leverne Spinks said those wages are just not enough without having to work overtime or add on another job.

“I have to sometimes take on another job or extra hours because sometimes I have to go home and look at my bills, the gas, the light, the rent and decide on which of those bills I am going to pay,” Leverne Spinks said.

The group is lobbying for the bill SB 400. It aims to direct funds to training efforts to stabilize the workforce. If passed, the bill will also direct state agencies to provide additional funding to non profit private providers for wage increase and pension benefits for direct care workers. The bill is up for hearing on Friday March 16th.