HealthBridge files for temporary restraining order

Embattled HealthBridge managed health care centers are making another attempt to thwart an order to reinstate 600 striking workers at five of its Connecticut workers.
Thursday night, the New Jersey based company filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, partially staying an injunction issued against HealthBridge by a federal judge earlier this week.

On Tuesday Federal Judge Robert N. Chatigny granted an injunction filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to reinstate workers at West River Health Care Center in Milford, Long Ridge in Stamford, Danbury Health Care Center, Newington Health Care Center, Westport Health Care Center. Hundreds of union employees of the homes have been on strike since early July. The walk-out was in response to HealthBridge instituting a “last, best and final” contract after more than a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the union. The union representing the workers, New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU, has argued that the contract is unfair and was illegally implemented.

The judge’s ruling demands that workers be allowed to return to their jobs by Monday, Dec. 17.

Shortly after the order was issued, HealthBridge officials have claimed that sending the strikers back to work is a danger to nursing home residents. The company maintains that, shortly after the walkout, workers at Danbury, Long Ridge and Newington stole residents’ wristbands and committed other acts of sabotage. On Wednesday, the company announced it would appeal the injunction.

Union spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff called the motion “a last-ditch, desperate act by HealthBridge, which has known all along that the company was in the wrong but hoped to be able to starve the workers out long enough that it wouldn’t matter when they were ultimately tried and found guilty of violating the law, workers’ right and all standards of human decency.”

HealthBridge filed the motion in with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit late Thursday.

Amanda Cuda