September 22, 2014
By Stephanie West
Jersey City, NJ – Twenty 1199SEIU caregivers returning to work after a 3-day strike were illegally locked out by their employer, Alaris Health. The lock-out took place in the early morning of Friday, September 19th. The workers, who are employed as certified nursing assistants, together have more than 100 years of service at Alaris nursing facilities. The center has consistently refused to bargain in good faith with 1199.
Claudia Soldana, a certified nursing assistant at Alaris Health at Castle Hill, was among the workers locked out. "I've dedicated the past 13 years of my life caring for the residents at Castle Hill. We went on strike to call attention to Alaris' unfair labor practices, short staffing levels, and low pay. But now, residents are being taken care of by temporary workers who they don't even know. Our patients rely on us, and we need to get back to work."
Caregivers at Alaris Health at Castle Hill in Union City and Alaris Health at Harborview in Jersey City held a three-day strike last week to protest the company's numerous unfair labor practices. Alaris has engaged in anti-union activities and refuses to negotiate a labor agreement with 1199. The company has instituted a campaign of intimidation to prevent workers from engaging in union activities.
Union City Mayor Brian Stack accompanied caregivers as they entered Alaris Health at Castle Hill to clock-in at 7am on September 19th. "This is a disgraceful and despicable act by the owners of this facility and I will do everything in my power to rally all of the other elected officials in Hudson County to help these workers," he said.
Under federal labor law, an employer is barred from locking out or permanently replacing workers for participating in a labor strike. The union had notified Alaris ten days prior to the strike that its members would be returning to work on September 19th.
"It is shameful that Alaris not only continues to violate the law, but has in fact ratcheted up their campaign of intimidation and retribution against workers," said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. "These are caregivers who want nothing more than stable jobs which allow them to provide for their families and deliver quality care to their patients. Alaris must bring back all of its employees at these facilities immediately."
*** LaborPress has been providing ongoing coverage of the anti-union activities by Alaris.