Malloy backs striking Conn. nursing home workers

Associated Press
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets with striking nursing home workers at Newington Health Care Center in Newington, Conn., Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Workers at five HealthBridge-owned nursing homes around the state went on strike last week after the health care company declined to return to the bargaining table. Malloy said it's clear the company has taken "unfair actions" against employees, citing last week's federal complaint against the company issued by the National Labor Relations Board. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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NEWINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy threw his support Wednesday behind the approximately 700 Connecticut nursing home workers who are on strike to protest what they say are labor concessions imposed by a company that owns the five affected facilities.

The Democrat joined the picket line at Newington Health Care Center, which is owned by Parsippany, N.J.-based HealthBridge/Care One. Malloy said it's clear the company has taken "unfair actions" against employees, citing last week's federal complaint against the company issued by the National Labor Relations Board.

"These types of tactics are unacceptable," he said. "They negatively impact the lives of the residents who live in these nursing homes and the residents' families because the continuum of care gets interrupted."

Last week, the NLRB found the company "failed and refused to bargain in good faith with the union," making changes to wages, hours and other conditions. HealthBridge can dispute the NLRB's allegations at a Sept. 10 hearing.

In a statement, HealthBridge contends that it had been negotiating in good faith with the union "when it chose to abandon negotiations, jobs and our residents." HealthBridge said the union has made "untenable demands while refusing to engage" for 17 months.

The company said it is continuing to provide high quality care and that nearly 75 of the union members have crossed the picket lines. Strikes are occurring at HealthBridge facilities in Newington, Danbury, Milford, Stamford and Westport.

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