Nursing Home Caregivers to Protest Outside of LPC Hearing for Daniel Straus’ Proposed UES Development Project

Nursing Home Caregivers to Protest Outside of LPC Hearing for Daniel Straus’ Proposed UES Development Project

Occupy Wall Street’s Labor Outreach Committee Endorses Action at One Centre Street

New York, NY – October 17, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — On Tuesday, October 18th, nursing home caregivers and theater performers will conduct a satirical street theater performance outside of One Centre Street to humorously draw attention to the exploitative practices of the Care One and HealthBridge nursing home corporations. The Landmark Preservation Committee has a hearing at One Centre Street in which they are considering a Certificate of Appropriateness for a high-priced development project brought forth by Daniel Straus’ company JZS Madison. Straus’ company recently bought six brownstones from the Whitney Museum for $95 million and plans to convert them to luxury condominiums. Straus, who runs nursing homes throughout the East Coast, needs the committee’s approval for the project because the buildings are in a historic preservation district.

Caregivers will be outside the hearing to call on Daniel Straus to put people before corporate greed. Several nursing home workers are scheduled to testify at the hearing, as well.

Nursing homes run by Straus’ companies have been subject to several federal Unfair Labor Practice Complaints issued by the National Labor Relations Board, including for unlawfully firing caregivers, for firing housekeepers and then rehiring them at lower wages, and for bad-faith bargaining in negotiations.

Performers dressed in colorful suits will conduct the satirical street theater performance, some wearing signs that read, “I am the One Percent.” Workers, including unlawfully fired caregivers from Somerset nursing home in New Jersey and caregivers traveling from Connecticut, will be available to talk to the press. The performance is endorsed by Occupy Wall Street’s Labor Outreach Committee and is sponsored by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and UnitedNY.

WHO:                   Nursing home caregivers from New Jersey and Connecticut; Street theater performers.

WHEN:                 12 Noon, Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

WHERE:               Street theater performance will begin at 12 noon at Zuccotti Park, and then make                          its way to One Centre Street by 1pm.

Action will take place rain or shine

Background:

Last month caregivers organized another satirical street theater performance in front of the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice, which is affiliated with NYU Law School and endowed by Daniel Straus.

Daniel Straus, along with his brother Moshael Straus, runs the Care One and HealthBridge nursing home chains in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states.  According to the most recent data available, Care One-run facilities in CT and MA generated a net income of over $13.6 million in 2010. Care One-run facilities in NJ generated a net income of more than $23.3 million in 2009. In addition, Healthbridge Management, a company 100% owned by Care One that manages facilities in all three states generated a net income of more than $11.4 million in 2010.

Workers at Care One’s Somerset nursing home facility in Bound Brook, New Jersey voted to form a union on September 2nd , 2010 but Care One refused to accept the outcome of the election. Instead, they illegally fired and disciplined workers for their union support and filed objections to the election victory with the National Labor Relations Board. The Board issued a complaint alleging unlawful disciplines, discharges and interrogations of workers for their union support, and filed for injunctive relief seeking the illegally fired workers to be returned to their jobs. 1199SEIU was certified by the Board as the collective bargaining representative for the Somerset workers but Care One has yet to recognize the Union. Throughout the campaign and proceedings to challenge the Union’s victory, instead of focusing on caring for nursing home residents, Care One wasted resources fighting its own employees and taking caregivers from the residents’ bedsides.

In Connecticut, the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board issued an 18-page federal Complaint and Notice of Hearing against HealthBridge and Care One, and each of six nursing homes, detailing multiple charges of “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights” under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and “failing and refusing to bargain … in good faith” with District 1199. The Complaint focuses on HealthBridge’s discharge of dozens of housekeepers, who were then rehired at lower rates of pay and without their seniority and earned benefits. HealthBridge has threatened to lock caregivers out of their jobs at the six nursing home facilities where they are represented by District 1199-New England Healthcare Employees Union-SEIU, and has proposed to slash safe staffing ratios along with wages and benefits.

For more information, go to CareOneWatch.org

# # #

The New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU  represents 22,000 professional and paraprofessional health care workers in Connecticut and Rhode Island in both public and private sector hospitals, clinics, non-profit agencies, skilled nursing homes and other health care settings, including 7,000 nursing, nursing assistants, dietary, laundry, housekeeping and other support staff in long-term care facilities.

With 350,000 members in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida and Washington D.C., 1199SEIU is the largest and fastest growing healthcare union in the country. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all.

UnitedNY is a grassroots community coalition that mobilizes working people and the unemployed to call for good jobs and make corporations pay their fair share. 

Contact:

Eliza Bates
Senior Communications Coordinator for New Organizing
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
330 W. 42nd St. 15th Fl. NY NY 10036
c. (646) 498-6120
o. (212) 603-0016
f. (212) 603-1773

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