David Pickus, President of New England District 1199, SEIU, issued the following statement on October 10 in response to recent attacks by HealthBridge and CareOne:
As caregivers and citizens of the Connecticut community, the members of our union are dismayed but hardly surprised by this latest attack by HealthBridge and CareOne on its employees. With no justification for putting profits ahead of patients, this latest desperate action makes it clear that these corporations will do anything to divert attention away from their unlawful behavior aimed at avoiding a fair agreement with workers.
Members of our union are standing together on the job because we want to improve the lives of our residents and lift up the community. That’s why we made the difficult decision to go on strike only after HealthBridge unlawfully and unilaterally imposed massive, destructive changes to our contract, including slashing staffing level standards.
The announcement of HealthBridge’s lawsuit against its own employees is just the latest in a series of aggressive actions by the company that has no basis in either fact or law. HealthBridge has repeatedly filed charges at the labor board against the union that were then quietly withdrawn or dismissed. In the two Labor Board trials that have been completed so far, the decisions went against HealthBridge.
Now, with another Complaint recently issued against the company, another trial against HealthBridge set for December and a hearing coming up this month on the federal government’s request for an injunction against HealthBridge, the company once again is employing its seemingly unlimited resources, not to provide quality care or settle a reasonable contract, but to point fingers everywhere but at its own proven illegal behavior.
We want to be clear that the actions that have been alleged at three of the HealthBridge nursing home facilities are inappropriate and contrary to our mission as caregivers and as a union. We condemn in the strongest terms any actions that could jeopardize care for nursing home residents. That includes the subpar care that family members of residents have said has been provided in some cases by replacement workers.
Instead of pursuing a frivolous lawsuit, we implore those corporations to invest that same energy toward achieving a solution with workers at the bargaining table. We believe that would ultimately be a more effective and socially just use of the company’s significant resources.