Controversial Judge Backs NLRB, Union in Ruling Against Healthcare Company

Controversial Judge Backs NLRB, Union in Ruling Against Healthcare Company

A federal judge, who’s on record as being sympathetic to sexual predators of children, sided with President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board in a recent controversial ruling to force a healthcare company to hire back union workers who endangered their patients when they walked out on strike this summer.

About a week ago, Connecticut federal district court judge Robert N. Chatigny granted an NLRB motion to force New Jersey-based HealthBridge Management to hire some 600 striking union members back into five Connecticut nursing homes.

On July 3, 600 or so members of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU, went on strike to protest HealthBridge Management’s health care and pension plans for workers.

HealthBridge wanted to shift the workers’ pension plans over to a 401k program, but the union wanted the company to increase its contributions to the current pension program to 8.5 percent of workers’ incomes from the current 8 percent.

HealthBridge also wanted workers to make some contribution to their own health care plans. When they went on strike in July, employees contributed nothing to the cost of their health plans.

The strike came after 17 straight months of negotiations between the union and the company failed. The company said in June that it made its “last, best and final” offer. The union didn’t take it, and those 600 workers walked out on strike.

On their way out, several of those workers appear to have sabotaged many Alzheimer’s patients.

A post by Labor Union Report on details how it appears several SEIU strikers “sabotage[d] nursing home residents and put Alzheimer’s patients’ lives in danger as they walked out on strike.” The report details how police reports were filed throughout Connecticut in the jurisdictions of the various nursing homes.

According to those police reports, the alleged acts of sabotage of the elderly patients ranged from having “clean linens being thrown on the floor to more serious incidents whereby patients’ identification wrist bands were removed as well as patient identifiers on room doors and wheelchairs.”

“The name tags on patient’s doors for the Alzheimer’s ward were mixed up,” another police report read. “The photos attached to the medical records for these patients were removed further complicating, but not making impossible the identification of the patients. Also dietary blue stickers affixed to the door name tags were removed.”

At one nursing home, somebody also smashed the glass door to an industrial washing machine, which the Stamford Connecticut Police Department noted “may be related” to the union strikes.

While no person has been charged at this time, those workers remain under criminal investigation for their actions. The union representing the workers is the subject of a civil RICO suit on the matter as well.

When the 600 or so workers walked out on strike, the company hired new workers to replace them. The recent ruling from Judge Chatigny – in which he sided with President Obama’s NLRB – would force HealthBridge to hire back the workers who left their jobs to strike in July. As the Washington Examiner noted, when the NLRB filed the injunction asking Judge Chatigny for this ruling, the group of union strikers the judge wants to force the company to hire back “includes the union members who committed acts of sabotage on the way out the door.”

The company filed for appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted a stay of implementation until it rules on Chatigny’s decision.

If the appellate court upholds Chatigny’s ruling, that’d mean HealthBridge would be forced to hire back those strikers – and fire the new workers they hired to replace them.

Chatigny’s own history as a lawyer and a judge is quite controversial in and of itself.

In 2010, Obama nominated Chatigny for an appointment to sit on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The president eventually withdrew Chatigny’s nomination amid public pressure over the judge’s history supporting those connected to child sex crimes. 

“Judge Chatigny has a weird record of empathy for those accused of sexual crimes involving children,” the Washington Times editorial board wrote in May 2010 when opposing Chatigny’s nomination. “It started when he served as co-counsel for director Woody Allen in 1993-94 when Mr. Allen filed a complaint against a prosecutor for discussing in public the potential charges against the moviemaker for reportedly abusing a minor stepchild. Mr. Allen and Mr. Chatigny lost both administrative proceedings in the case.”

In 12 child-pornography cases, Judge Chatigny imposed a sentence either at or more lenient than the recommended minimum – with most downward departures involving sentences less than half as long. And in an outrageous case of judicial abuse, Judge Chatigny threatened to take away an attorney’s law license if the lawyer failed to appeal the death sentence of an eight-time murderer of girls and young women. The judge claimed the killer’s “sexual sadism” was a mental disorder that made the murderer himself a victim.