Nursing Home Disarray Leads NLRB to Issue Big Violation in Connecticut
New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) June 1, 2011 – The National Labor Relations Board is sending a powerful message to the nursing home operator HealthBridge Management that it unfairly fired then rehired 700 nursing home employees. The NLRB is pushing to make HealthBridge pay back wages to the workers and restore their seniority. A hearing on the wrongdoing is scheduled for the middle of July.The 700 workers did laundry and housekeeping services throughout six Connecticut nursing homes under the subcontractor Healthcare Services Group. Days after they were fired, they were rehired for lower pay and a lesser title. The subcontractor honored all of the provisions of the contract between HealthBridge Management and New England Health Care Workers District 1199, the NLRB decision states.
HealthBridge Management is the one allegedly at fault and “is one of the most destructive corporations the union has ever dealt with, lacking care for their employees or the residents in the facilities,” said Deborah Chernoff, communications director for the New England Health Care Employees Union. “HealthBridge made changes without notifying us or negotiating with us, which is not what they agreed to in their contract. Some of these employees have worked at these facilities for over 20 years and now they are basically starting their job over again.”
Without a new offer to cover insurance and benefits, along with their seniority and pay rates, they were wrongfully forced out of a job and then rehired. HealthBridge was shown to be, “coercing, interfering with and restraining employees in the exercise of their rights,” said the NLRB’s regional director Jonathan Kreisberg. The spokeswoman for HealthBridge Management, Pat Leja, feels differently about the situation and said HealthBridge is not the employer of the workers and the allegations are baseless.
In Connecticut, plaintiff’s lawyers will counsel on employment rights and wrongful termination. And some of the concern is also spilling over to the nursing home conditions. David Pickus, the secretary-treasurer for District 1199, said that, “the illegal behavior cited by the NLRB is indicative of what we have observed all along: HealthBridge wants to provoke strikes to destroy the lives of workers, not caring about the jeopardy to patient care.”
Nursing home negligence can gravely affect not only the elderly patients, but also their families. “The fact that the company was so casual in hiring then firing the employees and then leaving numerous nursing homes in a state of disarray is wrong,” said Connecticut nursing home negligence attorney Eric Smith of Stratton Faxon, a Connecticut trial law firm. “It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds and how the rights of the employees will be upheld.”
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