Hartford police arrested 21 protesters Tuesday afternoon at a rally for nursing home workers who have been on strike for seven weeks since negotiations fell through with Spectrum Healthcare nursing homes.
The peaceful rally at the Park Place Health Center on Greenwood Street involved protesters sitting on cardboard in the rain, blocking a driveway to the nursing home during a shift change.
The union, District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, released a list of those arrested, including Mike Donnelly, a priest at American Ecumenical Catholic Church; Carmen Boudier, president of District 1199, along with other labor leaders; Hartford City Councilman Larry Deutsch; state Rep. David McCluskey, D- West Hartford; state Rep. Peter Tercyak, D- New Britain; and Tom Swan, executive director of Connecticut Citizens Action Group.
The union said the charges were for civil disobedience. Hartford police said arrests had not been processed as of Tuesday night, and, therefore, neither the number of people nor the charges for each could be confirmed. Other possible charges were obstructing passage or disorderly conduct. All are misdemeanor charges of varying degrees, police said.
SEIU spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff said those arrested were released with a notification to appear in court.
The union has not had a contract since March 2009, and 387 are on strike at four Spectrum nursing homes – including ones in Derby, Ansonia and Winsted.
Spectrum Chief Financial Officer Sean Murphy said the rally did not interrupt business.
The two sides have grown further apart on wages since the strike began, Chernoff and Murphy both indicated.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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