Today David Pickus, President of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU, released the following statement in response to HealthBridge's bankruptcy filing:
"Don't be fooled. This bankruptcy filing is the latest in a long string of actions by HealthBridge aimed at avoiding their legal obligations to more than 600 hardworking nursing home caregivers across Connecticut and at chipping away at the quality of care for patients-a cynical evasion of responsibility to Connecticut working families and their communities.
"HealthBridge is currently under an injunction from a federal judge to reinstate striking workers until a final decision is reached in the National Labor Relations Board case against the company. HealthBridge appealed for a stay of that injunction, which includes restoring benefits to workers from whom they were illegally stripped, all the way to the Supreme Court. Those appeals have all been denied.
"Since the appeals process didn't work in its favor, the company is now trying to use bankruptcy to avoid its legal obligations to employees under the injunction. In fact, a recent investigation found that the company reported losses at non-union facilities in 2011 and 2012, at the same time that they were paying out high management costs to their related management company, HealthBridge Management. Those fees have nothing to do with compensation for union workers. The fact is that this is a company that would rather squander resources on exorbitant lawyer fees rather than treat its workers fairly and ensure patients have the high quality care they deserve.
"Instead of wasting resources trying to avoid responsibility for its actions, HealthBridge should own up to its actions and make this right. HealthBridge employees and residents deserve no less. The State of Connecticut can and should put these homes into state receivership immediately until a more responsible and law-abiding operator can be secured to run them as centers of care for the elderly.
"If the financial situation is as dire as HealthBridge claims in its press releases, receivership would certainly be in the best interests of all of the residents of those five homes, the workers and the taxpayers of Connecticut, who provide most of the millions of dollars annually for care of the elderly in HealthBridge homes."