Nursing Staff Pickets Against Priority Healthcare Group’s Cuts

Waterbury, CT – Dozens of picketing caregivers denounced illegal changes in compensation and benefits, and severe cuts in residential services implemented by Priority Healthcare Group as the operator of Waterbury Gardens.
Priority Healthcare Group made cuts to nursing staff, as well as laundry, housekeeping and dietary services over the last six months, while also refusing to comply with contract agreements with workers.

“I have been an employee of Waterbury Gardens for three years. Waterbury Gardens has illegally snatched away my hours and won’t give my coworkers and I the right to bargain. I was previously at 32 hours a week, which is considered to be a full-time position. Now I am at 14 to 17 hours,” says Ruby (Premnarnie Raghunandan), a dietary aide at the nursing home.

The unilateral cuts implemented by Priority Healthcare Group have a negative impact in the quality of life of workers and could compromise the quality of services provided to meet the needs of residents at Waterbury Gardens. Changes to worker compensation and benefits are in the process of investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“Priority Health Group has engaged in illegal behavior that undermines care. Priority Healthcare Group unilaterally implemented its economic proposals and has failed to provide the information necessary for the Union to evaluate the proposals,” says Jesse Martin, vice president of New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199. “We are asking residents, families, friends and neighbors to call the owner and tell him to treat residents and caregivers with respect and stop violating the law.”

Workers are seeking injunctive relief for Priority Healthcare Group to immediately cease and desist with the implementation of these unfair practices and to get back to the negotiating table. Multiple charges have been filed at the NLRB on behalf of the 133 New England Health Care Employees Union members.

“Options have been reduced, and with less staff we can’t give the same quality of services we used to give. The residents deserve quality of care,” says Ruby. “These cuts have affected how I make ends meet. Sometimes I have to borrow money in order to take care of myself. I am often late on my bills due to Waterbury Gardens’ actions. We are ready to defend our contract and we are united in standing up for what is right.”

 

 

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