Union Members Stage Die-In For Negotiated Well being Insurance coverage

Union Members Stage Die-In For Negotiated Well being Insurance coverage

Jordan Deangelo, a PCA from Winsted, is arrested by state Capitol officers Credit score: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Greater than a dozen house care staff have been arrested Wednesday throughout a die-in on the Legislative Workplace Constructing over a choice by Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration to not lengthen a deadline for medical insurance. 

The greater than 11,000 homecare staff had negotiated a stipend for medical insurance, however solely 29 have been granted the stipend earlier than the Feb. 24 deadline. SEIU 1199, the union that represents the employees, estimated over 1,500 have been eligible. 

They are saying some have been wrongfully denied and others have been unaware and didn’t apply as a result of the state didn’t notify them. The considerations are mounting for a few of these staff. 

One employee tried to use, however the web site was down for twenty-four hours earlier than the deadline. He’s uninsured and awaiting insurance coverage to see a coronary heart specialist. One other employee, Isaac Kolonziaa, a live-in, house care employee, has a rash on his head that he must get biopsied, however he retains having to place off the surgical procedure as a result of he doesn’t have insurance coverage. He by no means acquired a response when he utilized. 

Lacking the deadline means the employees, who fought and gained medical insurance advantages and paid sick days as a part of a contract negotiation again in Might, gained’t have the ability to apply for an additional six months. 

SEIU1199 members conduct a die-in on the ground of the Legislative Workplace Constructing Credit score: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

The union says the applying course of was stuffed with technical flaws and homecare staff got little discover and no communication in Spanish, regardless that a majority are Spanish audio system. 

The union despatched a letter to the administration on Feb. 24 arguing partially that the due date was solely communicated to the employees three days earlier than the deadline. On the time solely 100 had utilized and 29 purposes have been authorised. 

“We’re apprehensive many PCA’s who want this protection can be left with out the power to use in time, and that purposes are being wrongfully denied by the fiscal intermediaries,” the union wrote. 

House care staff earn round $17 an hour and lots of have by no means had entry to medical insurance earlier than this contract. 

“Once more, we perceive that there are often rising pains related to any new program that the state is implementing, and so we’re asking you to take one other have a look at this and work with us to attempt to get extra of us on this important profit. Remember the fact that a big majority of Connecticut’s 11,000 house care PCAs are Black, Latina, and white working-class girls who proceed to endure via poverty wages and lack important protections corresponding to medical insurance for medical consideration. Let’s work collectively and convert our joint efforts right into a win for Connecticut, for PCAs and for each aged and disabled shopper who enjoys their loving care,” the letter reads. 

Sgt. Timothy Boyle reads the primary of three warnings for the protesters to disperse Credit score: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

A spokesman for the Lamont administration mentioned they’d no accountability to achieve out to those staff to tell them of the advantages underneath the contract. 

That being mentioned “as a result of we wish to ensure that the PCAs find out about this chance and have entry to the well being care they deserve we’ve labored with Entry Well being CT to create a devoted hotline to assist these excited by making use of for this profit and to determine a devoted Particular Enrollment Interval only for PCAs to align with the March 16th profit launch, despatched an preliminary spherical of communications to PCAs and their employers informing them of the profit and imploring employers to share the knowledge with their PCAs, and not too long ago launched a second spherical of emails and robocalls to PCAs,” Chris Collibee, a spokesman for the Lamont administration, mentioned. 

The administration added that the PCA Workforce Council has met each requirement for this profit spelled out within the Collective Bargaining Settlement.

The union mentioned “it’s ridiculous to say that the state wouldn’t have the ability to meet its contractual obligation with the union if the state extends the applying deadline for the primary spherical.”