Day 184 – Since the striking members were still on strike after midnight I will consider this day 184.
Around 4:30am, The new administrator, Bruce Zarret, whom I officially have not met yet arrived at Kingsbridge, we all were hoping this was a good sign that things were going to go smoothly. With the judges order in hand the union hoped to return to work starting at 5am this morning, however it did not get off to a good start, as the clock got close to 5:00am the new administrator instructed the security guards to lock the doors even though Pearl from the union along with the union’s attorney and all the early workers were ready to get to work.
Since the nursing home would not allow access to the building we just documented the incident with video and waited until 5:30am to try again with the next crew of workers. The waiting game continued on, at about 7:00am Helen finally arrived, she was ushered from a taxi into the building under cover by the security guards and once again closed the doors behind her.
Finally a little before 8:00am the administrator emerged from the building and spoke with Isaac, Pearl and the union’s attorney. It was decided that the workers could start entering the building using a slow arduous process. They were allowed to enter the building only after names were compared and lists were checked, slowly a few members of a group at a time entered. It was finally the moment we were all waiting for when the “REAL” workers of Kingdbridge were allowed back in the building.
This all went on for the good part of the morning and early afternoon, then after the 3:00pm shift was cleared and in the building the last shift that was left was the 11:00pm shift. It took a lot of time and effort but by 11:30pm all of the Kingsbrdige workers were back where they belong.
As the workers finished their shifts they all had many things to say, “the residents were so happy to see them back” was the unanimous thought that came to the workers when asked what was happening inside. I was told that they all had to go through some type of orientation where Helen herself spoke to them and allegedly stated that she is appealing the court order and she will win! All I can say is this is just more scare tactics from a heartless, callous woman. Doesn’t she think that these workers have been subjected to enough already? I mean remember they were forced out in the middle of February in the cold and snow, they had bright noisy lights shining on them while a guard with a german shepard patrolled the sidewalk in front of Kingsbridge making it look more like a concentration camp than a nursing home. They had to scrape by on unemployment and a stipend that the union afforded them, they couldn’t go to the doctor because they had no insurance and had to worry about if they were ever going back to their job again.
Six months! SIX MONTHS of this punishment they were forced to endure and when they finally get back to work what do they have? The same woman who cut their benefits and told them they were all fired is now telling them that they are back but not for long because she is going to win the appeal. Give me a break already!
There is so much more to say as emotions were high all around, maybe it was from a lack of sleep but I too was happy and sad to see all the workers go back inside. I was happy because they finally received the justice they deserve, but sad because all these good friends of mine will not be right outside my door 24 hours a day. Who am I going to talk to at 3:00am?
Please have a look at the many pictures of all the workers returning to work, we have pictures from all shifts starting from early morning all the way through to midnight when the last of the workers returned. You can browse the gallery here: STRIKE 2008 OVER!
I will have a video by early next week posted of all the employees returning to work, it was a very emotional day for all. Let us not forget that today is Audrey Campbell-Smith’s birthday, how appropriate is it that the workers are finally back to work on the day of her birthday?
Now today (Friday), the day after everyone returned to work there was a news frenzy over this strike! Who ever thought one little nursing home on a one way street in the Bronx could attract so much attention.
Also News12 was here talking to the kitchen workers and asking how everything was going now that they are back to work.
One final thought, even though the workers are back to work, the battle is long from over. As the union members used to chant on the picket line “Helen Sieger, Got to go!”.