Just a few months after voting to unionize, home health care workers announced Thursday they have agreed on a contract that would raise their pay floor to $11 an hour, provide funding for training and offer pay protections, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said.

The contract is now heading for a ratification vote by members and still needs approval by the Legislature, which in 2013 pushed through legislation allowing the union certification vote. The contract would affect 27,000 newly-unionized members. 

Union leaders said the contract would also provide for five days of paid time off for full-time employees.

"No one should have to choose between caring for their sick children and paying the bills," said Summer Spika, a home health care worker who was part of the bargaining negotiations, according to a statement. "This part of the contract is an important step towards fixing one of the many injustices facing the workers like me who care for seniors and people with disabilities across our state.”

The path to a union vote last summer and now a newly-formed contract was rocky. Republicans and other groups vociferously opposed the unionization effort and it overcame legal challenges. 

Photo: Home health care workers cheered when announcing last August a decision to unionize. (Brian Peterson/Star Tribune) 

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