A Democrat-appointed federal judge with a controversial past and a "weird record of empathy for those accused of sexual crimes involving children" has sided with Barack Obama's National Labor Relations Board and the Service Employees International Union by ordering a nursing home chain whose SEIU workers are striking to reinstate the strikers. The judge's decision to side with the NLRB and SEIU will cause more than 600 replacement caregivers' employment to be terminated.
To make matters worse, among those who will be reinstated will be SEIU strikers who are alleged to have committed acts of sabotage against nursing home residents (including Alzheimer's patients) when the union struck back in July.
On Tuesday, federal judge Robert N. Chatigny weighed in on a nearly two-year old labor battle between SEIU-affiliated New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 and New Jersey-based Healthbridge Management by granting an injunction to temporarily halt to Healthbridge Management's June implementation of its "last, best and final offer."
At issue is whether Healthbridge management and the union were, after 19 months of negotiations, at a lawful impasse when the company implemented its final offer in June.
Despite the union-controlled NLRB's contentions that the company unlawfully implemented its offer, the NLRB stated in a Wednesday press release that:
The petition seeking the injunction alleged that after 19 months of bargaining, in June 2012, the company unilaterally implemented contract proposals affecting wages, hours, benefit eligibility, and retirement and health benefits without first bargaining to a good faith impasse. [Emphasis added.]
[Apparently, to today's union-controlled NLRB, 19 months' worth of bargaining (much of it concerning withdrawal from an under-funded union pension plan as well as other concessions) is no longer long enough to prove that the parties are at impasse.]
On July 3rd, after 19 months of negotiations with the SEIU-affiliated New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, nursing home workers struck five nursing homes in Connecticut operated by New Jersey-based Healthbridge Management.
The union's strike was in response to Healthbridge's implementation of it's "last, best and final offer" in June.
The Health Care Centers had 35 negotiation meetings with the Union, and each Center made more than 150 proposals and counter-proposals. The parties became deadlocked, and neither made any changes to their positions or movement over the last four bargaining sessions. There also had been no movement by either party on the Health Care Centers' proposals to replace the Union pension plan with a 401(k) Plan since negotiations began on January 25, 2011.
As strikers left their jobs, numerous instances of sabotage occurred at three of the five nursing homes. The sabotage in July was very similar to instances of sabotage that occurred when the same union conducted a statewide strike in 2001.
In October, Healthbridge management filed a RICO lawsuit against the SEIU calling the union's actions "a shake-down by a lawless enterprise."
Rather than let the appeals court hear the merits of the parties cases against each other to their finality, Judge Chatigny chose sides in an ongoing labor dispute—something that was a wholly unnecessary thing to do. However, it's not the first time Chatigny used his position to advocate instead of adjudicate.
Once considered by the American Spectator to have crossed over to being more advocate than judge, Chatigny--who once defended Woody Allen against charges Allen molested one of his minor stepchildren--once argued that the sexual sadism of a serial killer should be a mitigating factor in the killer's death penalty case.
As AmSpec noted in 2010:
Chatigny's record shows a disturbing willingness to pick sides. His record also shows a disturbing view of sexual sadism as a mental condition that excuses a defendant's criminal action. Even as an opponent of the death penalty, I find it unacceptable that a judge would go to such measures to impose his view of the morally right outcome. [Emphasis added.]
While the company has filed a notice to appeal, in the Healthbridge case, by choosing to require Healthbridge to reinstate the SEIU strikers, in addition to causing 600 replacement caregivers to lose their positions, he is also putting elderly patients back into the hands of alleged saboteurs.
Unfortunately, Judge Chatigny's siding with the SEIU and the union-controlled NLRB is but another example of a nation where Chicago-style political partisanship and subjectivity has overcome objective law.
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)