Workers from group homes continue their strike outside the state Capitol. Credit: Christine Stuart photo

Union leaders told hundreds gathered on the front lawn of the state Capitol Wednesday that they are still on strike for better wages and benefits. 

“The strategy is to stay here on the picket line outside of the Capitol. [Gov. Ned] Lamont and the legislators are still in there,” SEIU organizers told its members. “We’re not just throwing the towel that we meant it when we said we want to end poverty for long-term care workers.” 

More than 1,700 employees of six group homes have been striking since May 24. 

Lawmakers passed a $51.1 billion budget that included a 2.5% cost of living increase for employees of nonprofit service providers — and 4.5% for a group of unionized workers on strike for three weeks.

“It’s not enough. It’s not what we asked for,” Marc Fisher, a worker at ASI Connect, said. 

He said the state has the $200 million in state funding the union is asking for to bring all workers up to more than $20 an hour. 

But there’s also some logistics. He said they still have to negotiate the money they will receive as part of the budget with the companies and after that happens then they will go back to work. 

As far as what they did receive “I’m disappointed,” Fisher said. 

He said he feels like they did move the needle because the proposed increase at the start

of the legislative session was 0% and then it went to 1% and it ended above 2.5% for most homes. 

Union organizers said their numbers have not dwindled since the start of the strike and they want to have the last word on what a “moral budget” looks like. 

“We want our faces to be the faces of the budget,” organizers told the crowd. 

Lamont’s office did not immediately have a comment on the workers’ continued presence, but is expected to sign the budget into law. 

House Speaker Matt Ritter said earlier this week that the deal between the unions and the state was up to Lamont. 

“I’m confident and hopeful that will get done in the coming days,” Ritter said.