Picket line chants tell worker’s stories

Health care workers at four Spectrum nursing homes in Connecticut have been on strike since April 15. Over 100 workers and supporters rallied at Spectrum’s Birmingham facility in Derby on November 13. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that the strike is the result of Spectrum’s unfair labor practices, and has asked the judge to order that workers receive compensation with interest for lost wages and benefits.

The rally was livened with picket line chants, which reflect conditions on the job. The chants refered to the chronic short-staffing and compulsory (mandated) overtime:

Monday, Tuesday — working short
Wednesday, Thursday — working short
Friday, Saturday — working short
All day Sunday — working short
Disrespected — all the time!
Mandated — all the time!

Another chant reflects the unity of the workers, their determination to win, and their confidence in their union, New England Health Care Employees District 1199, SEIU.

Hey Hey, what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!
Housekeeping, what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!
CNAs, what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!
Dietary, what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!
For our children what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!
For our residents, what do you say? 1199 is here to stay!

Speaking at the rally, District 1199 President Carmen Boudier expressed optimism that the workers will prevail. But she warned that, having been on the picket line through a long, hot summer, the workers would now face winter conditions, with court hearings not scheduled until January.

Boudier will be receiving the People’s World Amistad Award at a program Sunday, Dec 5 at 4PM at Hillhouse High School in New Haven. For tickets call 203-634-8664.

Photo: Art Perlo


Art Perlo
Art Perlo

Art Perlo lives in New Haven, Conn., where he is active in labor and community struggles. He does research and writing on economic issues in Connecticut, including work with the Coaltion to End Child Poverty in Connecticut which helped pave the way for the movement for progressive tax reform in the state. He writes on national economic issues for the People's World, and is a member of the CPUSA Economic Commission.