The threat of a strike looms for thousands of nursing home workers across the state.
They’re looking for the budget to include more funding for wage increases.
Workers at 25 nursing homes could go on strike if they don’t get the pay raises they’re looking for.
Many caregivers say right now they’re working two jobs to make ends meet.
“We only had a 25 cent raise in five years. All I'm asking is cost of living,” said Barbara Luciano, one of those workers.
After 39 years working at nursing homes as a dietary clerk and now a baker, Luciano says she’s still not making enough to make ends meet.
“I got laid off from my second job. I take care of my two parents that have dementia,” Luciano said.
Careene Reid, a certified nursing assistant, said she’s worked at Trinity Hill Care Center in New Britain for 10 years and makes just over $15 an hour. She has a second job to help pay the bills.
Caregivers joined union leaders Wednesday to demand better pay.
“What we've asked the legislature for is 4 percent over the next two years. That's about 40 million and about half of that is matched by the federal government,” said SEIU 1199 New England President Rob Baril.
Last month, union members voted overwhelmingly to strike, with the date set for Wednesday. But a letter from Gov. Ned Lamont asking to allow discussion and negotiations to continue delayed it.
The union said that doesn’t mean a strike involving thousands of workers is off the table.
“A strike is a last resort. It's not a game, no one wants to be on strike,” Baril said.
Around 3,100 workers could walk off the job if their demands aren’t met.
Caregivers say they’ve been forced to do more with less for years, and that something has to give.
In a previous statement the governor said that the goal is to meet a fair and necessary agreement as soon as possible.
The union says they’ll meet with their negotiating committee next week, and may set another date for a strike depending on how things progress.