Locked-Out Caregivers Turn Up the Heat on HealthBridge’s Owners

Vigil image courtesy of nhregister.com

Back-to-back actions by locked-out caregivers and residents’ family members from HealthBridge’s West River Health Center in Milford, CT are making news headlines in Connecticut and New York.  The New Haven Register reported on a candlelight vigil in Milford on Sunday, January 29th, where residents’ family members spoke out about their concern for their loved ones:

Rosemarie Civitello of Milford is worried about the well-being of her 82-year-old mother, Rosalie Russello…Russello suffers from Alzheimers and is a patient at HealthBridge Management’s West River Health Care facility…

“I’m majorly concerned,” Civitello said Sunday as she attended a candlelight vigil on the Green to raise awareness of the plight of the locked-out workers. More than 50 workers, residents and family members braved the cold and attended Sunday evening. “Things have plummeted horribly. The care has been affected,” Civitello said.

…She said patients have objected to the quality of the food, and are out of sorts after not seeing familiar faces working with them.

NYU action photo courtesy of LaborNotes.org

Two days later, workers and their supporters showed up at the gates of New York University’s Law School, where one of the HealthBridge owners, Daniel Straus, is a trustee.  The action – which included street theater – garnered national coverage in Labor Notes as well as a story from campus news site NYULocal.com:

[Two] women stared each other down, slowly walking in a circle as they matched each other step for step. One, dressed in black from her cowboy hat and fake mustache down to her shoes, wore a paper badge labeled “99% Sheriff.” The other, a white cowboy hat, black Zorro-esque eye mask, and the label “1% Outlaw.” […The] “99%” represented the many [locked-out] caregivers at a Milford, CT, nursing home…run by Daniel Straus, or “the 1%.” Straus, an NYU Law School Trustee, endows the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice with annual gifts of $1.25 million and owns six nursing homes in Connecticut, as well as many more in other states.

Yesterday afternoon, the workers…paid the NYU Law School a visit and put on a mock manhunt to illustrate the injustice being done by a man who financed a school for justice. As supportive professors and students, including members of GSOC and the Student Labor Action Project, gathered first in Washington Square Park and then in front of the entrance to the Law School, workers chanted “Down with Straus!” and held up signs renaming Straus’ namesake school the “Institute of Injustice.”

Caregivers, family members, and supporters are now planning their next steps to continue educating the public about HealthBridge’s corporate practices and call on the Straus brothers to “Be fair to those who care!”

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