Nursing home remains under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board
Nursing home workers on the front lines at Apple Rehab in Rocky Hill formed a union informational picket line Tuesday to protest the employer’s ongoing unfair labor practices.
Charges filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for unfair labor practices include allegations of refusal to negotiate with the Union, refusal to provide information to the Union necessary for bargaining and changing working conditions without notice or negotiations.
“Many workers contracted the virus while supplies of PPE and short staffing were daily struggles for the facility in April and May. Apple must show respect and dignity for the heroes that work in Rocky Hill and all their facilities, and stop breaking the law,” said Jesse Martin, vice president of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199. “What Apple Rehab is trying to pull off here is simply unacceptable for both workers and residents.”
Pending charges against the Rocky Hill nursing home are currently under investigation by the NLRB. The Union represents 70 workers at the facility who are certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, dietary, laundry and housekeeping staff.
One of the largest for-profit nursing home chains in Connecticut with 25 facilities in the state, Apple Rehab has received over $3 million in public funds during the pandemic. Yet despite getting millions in state and federal dollars for COVID mitigation, Apple Rehab continues to place its own profits over the need of nursing home residents to receive quality of care services.
During the COVID pandemic, 21 residents have died at the facility due to COVID complications, and one-third of workers have either tested positive, had symptoms or self-quarantined because of potential exposure. Nearly 100% of the residents have tested positive.
Even after caregivers sacrificed bravely and after the human toll suffered by workers to ensure that residents are cared for during the pandemic, most nursing home workers are still getting poverty wages with meager benefits. Apple Rehab of Rocky Hill, for example, has refused to pay up to 5% worth of state-funded wage increases dating back to November 1, 2018.
“Staffing numbers in nursing homes are at crisis levels. Across the State, nursing homes are suffering from a failing Medicaid system that does not prioritize safe staffing levels, livable wages and appropriate benefits for direct care staff. We need to do better as a State, or we will place our nursing homes at risk again when the second wave hits”, said Martin.
“In a recent independent study commissioned by the State of Connecticut, the research firm Mathematica concluded that our nursing homes should increase wages and benefits for our frontline heroes,” Martin added. “Companies like Apple Rehab continue to profit from the pandemic while frontline workers get extremely ill and are left out of the necessary wage increases.”
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