Jesse Martin and nursing home workers announce the strike notices Credit: Contributed photo

In nine days, nursing home workers at five Hartford area homes could go on strike. 

1199NE SEIU voted in favor of the work stoppage at five homes to fight for a $20 per hour minimum wage for Certified Nursing Assistants, fair pension plans, and affordable healthcare. 

An estimated 450 workers at five homes served notices to three facilities owned by National Health Care Associates: Bloomfield Health Care Center, Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford and Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center in Rocky Hill. It also notified two independent facilities, Windsor Health and Rehabilitation Center and Avery Heights Senior Living in Hartford. 

“We’ve been told for two years that we’re essential, yet I still can’t pay my bills or afford healthcare with the low wages I’m being paid,” Nadine Lawrence, a CNA at Bloomfield Health Care Center, said. “On top of that, most of the Hartford nursing home providers like me are Black and brown, and we continue to show up to care for our residents even amid racial profiling and discrimination by management. I’m at my breaking point.”

William Thompson, an administrator at Avery Heights, said they value the “tireless and compassionate care provided by all our staff in service to the residents of our community. We will continue to negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching a settlement that is fair and equitable to the team members represented by the New England Health Care Employees Union.”

He said if no agreement is reached by 6 a.m. on April 22 they will “continue to ensure the ongoing care, safety, and wellbeing of our residents.

Thompson was the only one of the five nursing home operators to respond to our request for comment. 

The strike threat is much smaller than the one averted in 2021 when workers at 26 homes threatened to walk off the job. 

The state stepped in and increased funding for nursing homes by $267 million over four years, enabling the facilities to increase the hourly pay of workers and provide better benefits. 

In addition to the strike notice the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against management at all five facilities.