Judge Rules that HealthBridge Violated Federal Law; First in a Series of Expected Decisions on NLRB Complaints

In the first of an expected series of decisions on multiple National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Complaints against HealthBridge Management, a Judge has ruled that the nursing home corporation violated federal labor law by “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees.”

“HealthBridge told everyone that these Complaints were ‘baseless allegations’ and they wanted their day in court,” said Tanya Beckford, a Certified Nursing Assistant at HealthBridge’s Newington Health Care Center. “They told the Labor Board that they ‘look forward to the Judge’s fair and impartial review of the case.’ They got their day and their fair review – and they lost.

In a 23-page Decision dated July 20, 2012, Administrative Law Judge Steven Davis ruled that HealthBridge violated the National Labor Relations Act when it prohibited employees from exercising their rights under federal labor law to wear stickers and post flyers indicating that the company had been the subject of an NLRB Complaint issued on March 21, 2011. Employees were told to remove signs and insignia regarding the Complaint since it “doesn’t look good in the facility,” a justification the Judge determined to be a pretext.

Susan Huorn, whose father is a resident at the West River Health Care Center, one of five nursing homes where union caregivers are currently engaged in a strike over the Company’s Unfair Labor Practices (and where the company locked out workers for more than two months, an action cited in another NLRB Complaint as illegal), spoke out after learning of the Judge’s ruling.

“I believe having hired replacement aides is sacrificing the quality of care for my father,” Huorn said. “They may be ‘qualified’ but they don’t know the residents—they don’t know my father.”

“I have to go in every day to check on my father and every day, things are different; that shouldn’t be. They should stop wasting time and money breaking the law, and should spend their time and money bringing stability to the caregivers and my father.”

“It’s a shame that corporate greed is more important than quality care.”

To date, the NLRB has issued five federal Complaints against HealthBridge for massive violations of labor law; the most recent Complaint, issued shortly after the strike began, calls the Company’s deep and unilateral cuts to caregivers’ working conditions, wages and benefits, unlawful.  Workers began an Unfair Labor Practice strike in protest of HealthBridge’s illegal actions on July 3rd.

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