Approximately 600 workers at five nursing homes in Connecticut that are owned by HealthBridge Management have been on strike since July 3, 2012. The unionized workers walked off their jobs after the nursing homes’ owner implemented major changes that the workers considered to be very detrimental to them: the nursing home workers were faced with elimination of six paid sick days and one week of vacation per year, as well as an increase in the amount that the workers would have to pay toward their family health care by at least $6,000 per year. Their pensions were also threatened to be frozen.
The nursing home workers are members of the Service Employees International Union. Connecticut’s Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s Attorney General George Jepsen sided with the workers early on, going as far as being with them on the picket line and alleging that the nursing homes’ owner was attempting to bust the workers’ union.
The nursing homes’ owner alleged that it tried to negotiate with the workers, through their union, for almost 17 months, with the union refusing to compromise with it by demanding that the owner contribute 8.5% to the workers’ pension fund and that the owner provide free health care to its workers. The owner has also alleged that some of the striking workers went so far as to commit sabotage against two of its nursing homes just before they went on strike by removing identification wristbands from several residents, their wheelchairs, and the residents’ doors.
The union has countered that the National Labor Relations Board had filed six complaints against the owner of the nursing homes, with one resulting in a labor board judge finding that the owner’s firing of 48 of its workers followed by its re-hiring the workers on the same day at reduced wages was a violation of labor laws.
The nursing home workers, many of whom are from foreign countries and are paid low wages, have been replaced with 730 substitute workers by the nursing homes’ owner.
When the strike may end, what concessions the workers, the union, and the nursing homes’ owner may have to make to end the strike, and the benefits (or loss of benefits) that the striking workers may end up with once the strike is ended, are anyone’s guess at this time. Let’s hope that in the meantime, the residents of the nursing homes where the strikers are employed have not suffered any serious consequences due to the strike — nursing home residents, who are among the most vulnerable of our citizens, should not have to suffer because their caregivers and their caregivers’ employer cannot timely resolve their financial differences (we express no opinion on whether the striking nursing home workers in Connecticut and/or their employer are in the right or in the wrong with regard to the issues underlying the current strike).
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of nursing home negligence, nursing home neglect, or nursing home abuse in Connecticut or in any other state in the United States, you should promptly seek the advice from a local medical malpractice attorney (nursing home attorney) who may be able to investigate your possible claim against the nursing home for you.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (nursing home lawyers) in your state who may be willing to represent you in your claim against the nursing home, if appropriate.
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