Hugh McQuaid file photo
At the urging of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, nursing home workers will postpone their upcoming strike, according to a spokeswoman for the union.

Jennifer Schneider, a spokeswoman for SEIU 1199 New England, said union leaders discussed Malloy’s request with their members and agreed to postpone the strike.

“It is our hope that the Governor and legislators take this opportunity to make a fair wage for caregivers and quality care for residents a top priority in the budget,” Schneider said.

Last week the unions sent strike notices to iCare, Genesis, and Paradigm facilities. Those facilities employ 3,500 union workers at 27 homes in 20 cities and towns. Unions must give nursing homes 10 days notice before going to the picket line.

The Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, an association of nursing facilities, called the decision to postpone the strike “welcome news.”

“Nursing facility residents in the affected homes and their caregivers can rest a little easier for the time being now that the immediate threat of a labor action has been called off,” Matthew Barrett, executive vice president of the association, said.

Staffing accounts for 70 percent of nursing home costs. Barrett said increasing employee wages and benefits can only be reasonably expected when overdue Medicaid dollars are provided to the operators. He said Medicaid payments are now $28 below the cost of provider care to Medicaid recipients per day.

The legislature’s two budget writing committees are currently working on their own budget proposal, which includes language about Medicaid payment rates for those nursing homes.