Week in CT news: Group home workers strike, sell lemonade outside of governor's mansion
Group home workers protest state budget proposal
A local union has lobbied lawmakers for $200 million to fund raises for group home workers in the next two-year state budget. But, SEIU 1199 New England workers were told they won’t get that much, so on Wednesday, they initiated a strike.
“They’ve got to get us something and they haven’t gotten us [expletive],” SEIU 1199 New England president Rob Baril said while marching with his union’s members outside the state Legislative Office Building.
“So there’s nothing to talk about,” Baril said.
The strike involves more than 1,700 group home workers for people with developmental disabilities. They’re asking for a pay raise to $25 an hour, up from the $17.25 many of the workers get now.
Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said Wednesday that the union won’t get the funding they’ve requested.
“We are not able to get to $200 million,” Ritter told reporters.
In response to the denial, union workers have converged on the state Capitol in Hartford.
They’ve also picketed outside of the governor’s residence in Hartford, opening a lemonade stand there to raise money for the group home employees during their work stoppage.
State pushes for participation in planning affordable housing
Some of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have yet to comply with a year-old call for them to submit proposals creating affordable housing in their towns. That’s according to the state Department of Housing.
“We have more than 130 towns and, I'm very optimistic that towns do want to do the right thing,” state Department of Housing commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said recently.
“We have several projects in small municipalities and we have other towns that, after they’ve completed their housing plans, are looking for our support — technical assistance to implement those plans.”
The state Office of Policy and Management reports in data last updated in March that 34 towns haven't yet publicized their plans. That’s as the state grapples with a shortage of affordable housing units.
“What the towns I talked to say is, ‘We want more housing. We want more affordable housing. Don't tell us how to do it. We're gonna do it ourselves.’ That's why I say let's set up, show us your plan,” Gov. Ned Lamont said on May 17.
Towns that haven’t submitted affordable housing plans to the state as of March include Bridgeport, New Britain, and Norwalk.
Fires, fireworks, and burnouts: Motorists ‘takeover’ CT streets
The Connecticut State Police said a ‘street takeover’ involving 200 plus people took place in the state Sunday night.
At one point, police said, the group of motorists rioted in Tolland, performing burnouts, setting fires and lighting off fireworks. A car was also smashed in the riot.
A Norwalk man has been arrested in connection to street takeover events in Connecticut. Also in response to the chaotic craze on local roadways, lawmakers in the state Senate passed legislation this week aimed at empowering law enforcement against the threat.
“Is it a right of passage? I don’t know,” asked Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, on Tuesday as lawmakers approved the creation of a task force to try to stop street racing in the state.
“I’d love to take that energy and creativity and all of that and put it in a positive direction," Kissel said. "Our society could use so much. But I don’t know what’s going on.”
State police asked residents to contact them if they hear anything about street takeover events in the state.
Frankie & Johnny premieres Fridays at 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered on Connecticut Public Radio. Connecticut Public's Jennifer Ahrens, Abigail Brone, Chris Polansky, and Patrick Skahill contributed to this report.