Healthcare Subsidy “A Game-Changer” for Paraprofessionals

With Council 4 leading the way, paraprofessionals across Connecticut won a huge victory in the ongoing fight for dignity and fair treatment, with the creation of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Subsidy Program – a one-time $5 million stipend that will pay up to 74 percent of out-of-pocket-health care costs.

Victory for Paraeducators! Healthcare Subsidy Secured

On Sept. 5, our union celebrated this accomplishment at a press conference in Hartford that included Comptroller Sean Scanlon, Governor Ned Lamont, Senator Richard Blumenthal, House Speaker Speaker Matt Ritter, State Representative Jeff Currey, State Senator Doug McCrory, Hartford Mayor Mayor Luke Bronin, Education Commissioner Charlene Russell Tucker and paraeducators from several unions, including Council 4.

“Establishing a fund to assist paraprofessionals in securing affordable health care is an absolute game changer,” said Staff Representative Tricia Santos, who spoke for Council 4-represented paras at the press conference. “Paraprofessionals shouldn't have to choose between doing the work they absolutely love and meeting their families’ basic needs.”

Santos co-chairs the statewide Paraprofessional Advisory Committee, which has been pushing for improvements to bring paraprofessionals greater recognition and respect for their work, and to improve access to family-supporting health care and retirement benefits.

The health care subsidy was one of Council 4’s top legislative priorities and came about through challenging negotiations that included legislators, the Governor, the Comptroller, Council 4 and other unions. The Comptroller’s office will administer the program.

Council 4-represented paraprofessionals made their voice heard on this and other important issues during the 2023 legislative session by providing legislative testimony, making phone calls and writing to their legislators. Your voice and actions contributed to this victory.

“The fight for a health care subsidy is a powerful example of member activism leading to significant results worth celebrating,” said Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr. “We can’t stop here and we won’t stop here. There’s more work to do in our campaign to improve the wages, benefits and working conditions of our dedicated paraprofessionals.”