Twenty-one people were arrested Tuesday when they refused to stop blocking Park Place Health Center’s driveway. Two lawmakers, Rep. David McCluskey of West Hartford and Rep. Peter Tercyak of New Britain, along with Hartford City Councilman Larry Deutsch were arrested for civil disobedience when they joined striking union officials on the picket line in Hartford.
On strike since April 15 the 387 union workers at four Spectrum Healthcare nursing homes, including the one in Hartford, have been replaced with what some have been told are permanent workers, Deborah Chernoff, spokeswoman for New England Health Care Employees Union SEIU 1199 said.
Chernoff said the union has been able to settle 36 nursing home contracts with other providers over the past year by asking for a small pay increase and no substantial cuts in benefits.
She said just last week the union signed a contract that cut the cost of medical insurance for workers in another chain’s nursing homes. She said by not agreeing to a contract Spectrum Healthcare of Vernon has “made themselves the outliers.”
She said since the contract with Spectrum expired in March 2009, about 50 people have been fired or suspended without any ability to bring their cases to arbitration.
Spectrum owns three other nursing homes, in Derby, Ansonia, and Winsted, where workers are also on strike.
In Derby the Board of Aldermen have approved a portable toilet for striking workers and at least two of them have been arrested for disorderly conduct.
The last message Spectrum posted about the strike on its Web site dates back to April 5.
The message says Spectrum is “currently negotiating in good faith to reach fair and responsible labor agreements with the union.”
Chernoff said negotiations are ongoing, but the two sides are meeting once a week.