In a system rigged for bosses, workers often lose even when they win
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Feb 11, 2013
If you want an example of how badly the labor-law deck is stacked against American workers, one good place to look is the saga of Connecticut's HealthBridge nursing homes, which has stretched on for well over a year now and encompassed a lockout, a strike over cuts unilaterally and illegally imposed by management, an injunction from the National Labor Relations Board, and two Supreme Court justices—one of them being Antonin Scalia!—rejecting a management appeal to have an injunction stayed. Because the thing is, the workers aren't back on the job.
The HealthBridge workers, who belong to SEIU, earned an average of $15.36 an hour and hadn't had a raise since 2009, but that didn't stop management from demanding they pay thousands a year in new health insurance premiums, along with cuts to sick days, overtime, and more. From December 2011 until April 2012, workers at one of the five HealthBridge nursing homes in Connecticut were locked out over these issues. Then, just months after the lockout ended, management unilaterally imposed a "last, best, and final" contract containing massive benefit cuts. The workers went on strike—a strike management wouldn't let them end, as it turned out.
Since then, the workers have gotten victory after victory, as we'll see below the fold. But none of those legal victories have gotten the workers back on the job. Because HealthBridge faces such minimal penalties that it's worth it to the committed union-busters running the company.
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