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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Approves Raises For Long-Denied Health Care Workers

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) joined a bipartisan vote in the state Senate today that gives thousands of unionized health care workers their first pay raise in over a decade – and avoids a harmful strike at the same time.

Sen. Osten joined a bipartisan 29-4 Senate vote on House Bill 5460 to give about 2,500 members of the SEIU 1199 labor union a raise of up to 5 percent beginning January 1, 2019. The workers staff about 170 group homes in Connecticut that care for physically and developmentally disabled state residents.

The workers now earn an average hourly wage of $14.19 an hour – about $30,000 a year – which is less than half the average household income in Connecticut. They have not received a cost of living adjustment since 2004.

“In the public hearing on this bill, we heard from group home operators all across the state about how important this bill is in attracting and retaining qualified, caring, hardworking people who, quite frankly, have one of the toughest jobs in Connecticut: caring for people with physical and developmental disabilities,” Sen. Osten said. “These workers who are impacted by today’s bill earn an average $14.19 an hour – less than $30,000 a year. That’s less than half the average household income in Connecticut. And they haven’t had a cost of living adjustment since 2004. I’m pleased that today’s Senate vote was ultimately a bipartisan vote and that these personal care workers will get the long-delayed pay raise that they not only need, but have worked so hard to deserve.”

The state House of Representatives had passed the same bill earlier in the week on a 88-62 vote, with just nine Republicans joining all Democrats to vote in favor. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.

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