Caregivers of Sunrise Group Homes, Day Programs Strike for Higher Wages

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Caregivers at Sunrise Group Home and Day Programs are striking on Tuesday morning.

The caregivers are demanding higher wages, affordable health insurance and a pension, according to the New England Health Care Employees union.

The health insurance that Sunrise offers is $6,000 a month for a family, said Sunrise employee Jennifer Brown, who is striking.

Brown said they haven't had a pay increase in 15 years and she makes $17.50 an hour. They also don't have a pension when they retire, she added.

According to Brown, there is $184 million available in new state funding and Governor Ned Lamont said they could have a pension and affordable health insurance, but they still do not have it.

She said the employees stay at the job because they take care of their individuals, who become like their family.

On Tuesday morning, Sunrise released a statement saying, "Sunrise Northeast is committed to reaching a contract that is sustainable and gives our employees wage increases and benefits they deserve. We submitted requests to the state last week seeking additional funding for healthcare and retirement and are awaiting those decisions. We’ve tentatively agreed to wage increases and remain committed to negotiating, including over some Union proposals we just received last week." 

"Our focus remains on reaching a fair contract that enables us to continue the good work our organization has done in Connecticut for years," Sunrise said in the statement.

Sunrise operates 28 group homes and day programs that serve over 160 people in multiple locations across the state.

Picket lines are scheduled at four locations including in Hartford, Columbia, New London and Danielson. The strike is expected to last through 8 p.m. and will resume on Wednesday.

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