29 January 2012

Union-Busting in Milford - Thin Edge of the Wedge

HealthBridge Management, owners of the West River Health Center (aka "The Grinch") locked out workers in mid-December - after what appears to be contract negotiations that smell fishy at best. Click here for SEIU 1199 post on this issue.

According to the Connecticut Post "The company has offered employees a 12 percent raise over three years, but union officials said the proposal also reduces sick and vacation time and allows hiring of per-diem staff, which could reduce the number of employees eligible for benefits."
I have spoken to some of the healthcare workers from the site and they report that their jobs are being covered by $18/hr hires brought in from out of state. The $18/hr is probably what the employment agency is being paid, not what the substitute workers are being paid. Generally this would be closer to $10/hr without benefits.

Sunday evening there was a vigil on the Milford Green. Participants included State Senator Gayle Slossberg as well as Rich Smith, Chairman of the Milford Democratic Town Committee, both of whom vowed full support for 1199 and the locked out workers. Smith spoke about the anti-union and anti-middle class sentiments of management and Slossberg spoke about the clients these caretakers were locked out from helping.

A previous vigil, in late December, was attended by Senator Richard Blumenthal, who is also calling for more attention to the abuse of seniors on many levels.

The inside talk on this is whether the management will simultaneously lock out healthcare workers at the Danbury or Westport locations they own, or continue using Milford as a test case.

Walk the Line at 245 Orange Avenue Milford, CT 06460 in Solidarity with locked out healthcare workers and in Sympathy for the clients who need them.

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