Federal Judge Orders Nursing Home Workers Back to Work

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Brennan, 323-888-8183

Piedmont Gardens Must Reinstate Workers Immediately

Oakland – A federal judge has ordered that 38 nursing home workers be reinstated more than a year after they were fired unjustly.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken granted an injunction Tuesday ordering Piedmont Gardens’ owner American Baptist Homes of the West to reinstate 38 workers fired while on strike last August to their former positions with the same wages and working conditions.

“This has been a long road. We have always known that a company cannot fire workers for standing up for better working conditions, pay and benefits. Winning our jobs back is a big step forward,” said Sanjanette Fowler, one of the 38 fired workers who are all members of SEIU-UHW.

Caregivers went on strike for five days about a year ago after nursing home management violated federal labor law by severely changing working conditions and benefits.
In May the National Labor Relations Board sought an injunction from U.S. District Court. SEIU-UHW made the request citing the irreparable harm that would be caused to the workers if they were not offered their jobs back.

Judge Wilken’s move is a strong signal that workers will ultimately prevail and win back pay for the time they were denied work.

“We’re a family at Piedmont Gardens. We have always supported the friendly faces who work with us every day. We will be thrilled to have them back in our lives as soon as possible,” said Dorothy Rice, President of the Independent Resident Council of Piedmont Gardens. “Management must reinstate our caregivers right away. We welcome workers back right away.”

On a separate track the National Labor Relations Board held a hearing on the workers’ firings in May after the Board found evidence to indict American Baptist Homes of the West for engaging in unfair labor practices against caregivers in 2010. An administrative law judge presided over the hearing and is expected to issue a ruling this year.

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