Management refusing to bargain in good faith
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Frontline healthcare workers at Blue Circle Rehab & Nursing, represented by SEIU Healthcare Missouri, went on strike last week over unfair labor practices and management’s refusal to bargain in good faith.
The workers have been in negotiation with the company for more than a year and their last bargaining session ended with no agreement. On Friday, Nov. 5, workers began their strike at 7 a.m. at the nursing home on 2939 Magazine Drive in St. Louis.
“This is an Unfair Labor Practice strike,” said Lenny Jones, state director and vice president of the union. “They’re not bargaining in good faith. They’re not providing information when they’re bargaining. We have been bargaining with Blue Circle for over a year. We have gotten to a place where the owners admitted they gave workers a raise unilaterally in 2020 because they didn’t want to bargain with the union. They told workers (prior to the initial strike action on Friday) that if they came out here they could be replaced.”
The union filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against the company last week.
TRYING TO BREAK THE UNIONS
“This company wants to break the union,” SEIU Healthcare spokeswoman Laura Barrett said in announcing a series of Labor and media events. “That is their goal. They are denying the basics like dues deductions and union security.
“We didn’t fight to beat right-to-work for nothing!” she said, referring to the overwhelming defeat of the anti-worker, anti-union measure by Missouri voters in 2018.
“The contract must contain union security and union access as well as decent wages for essential workers who worked faithfully throughout a life-threatening pandemic. Right now, they are proposing NO RAISES for nursing staff who have not seen a raise since 2020 and a measly two percent raise in January. This while inflation is over five percent,” Barrett said.
Blue Circle workers walked out on Friday, Nov. 5.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, workers held a well-attended Labor solidarity event at Blue Circle. Missouri Senator Doug Beck, St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White and former State Representative Tommie Pierson, Sr., spoke at the rally.
“I’m here standing in solidarity with these workers,” White said. “What these nursing homes are trying to pull over on these folks that were there throughout this pandemic putting their lives on the line is downright criminal!”
On Sunday, Nov. 7, workers held a prayer service, and on Monday, Nov. 8, workers were scheduled to hold a press conference at Blue Circle’s corporate office in Clayton during Labor Tribune press time. Look for coverage of that event in the Nov. 18 print edition.