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Jillian Kay Melchior | Unions Defend the Worst of the Worst





When hundreds of Connecticut nursing-home workers went on strike this summer, some committed “alarming, malicious events of apparent sabotage . . . that placed the health of many residents in immediate danger,” according to legal testimony to the United States District Court of Connecticut.

Some of the workers even endangered the lives of elderly patients, but now, their union allies are fighting to get them their old jobs back. This case is no exception: In both the private and the public sector, unions protect the jobs of all their members, even those who have done something wrong, inappropriate, dangerous, or criminal.

The trouble in Connecticut began last year, when Healthbridge Management tried to negotiate a new contract with employees at five of their nursing homes, where all workers are members of the Service Employees International Union. These workers wanted the company to contribute more toward their pensions, and they also demanded free health care for their entire families. Those demands were “pretty significant,” and if Healthbridge had given the union workers everything they wanted, it might have been forced to go out of business, said Zach Janowski, an investigative reporter for the Connecticut-based Yankee Institute who has been following the story closely.

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