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Connecticut nursing home disputes result in Chapter 11

An ongoing dispute involving five Connecticut nursing homes and its employees appears to have resulted in the nursing homes filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A brief chronology of the dispute is as follows: (1) more than 600 workers at the nursing homes went on strike this past July; (2) a federal judge recently ordered the nursing homes to allow the workers to return to work; and (3) the five nursing homes filed for bankruptcy protection on February 24th.

The bankruptcy judge appeared sympathetic regarding the nursing home's claims. The judge stated there was "no debate" that at least a six-week temporary change regarding the collective-bargaining agreements was necessary "to avoid irreparable damage" to the nursing homes' ability to remain in business. "The reality of the evidence is that the debtors are not financially viable without relief requested."

The union representing the employees have alleged that wages and working conditions for the nursing home employees has been inadequate. However, it now appears possible that the contracts the nursing home had with the workers were in part responsible for the nursing home's dire financial status. It's yet to be determined what the long term consequences of Chapter 11 reorganization will have as concern any modification of the collective-bargaining agreements.

As we can see from this dispute, attorneys representing businesses will require a real understanding of business-related matters, employment litigation, labor' negotiation and, in certain cases, business bankruptcy and reorganization. Not every attorney will have the knowledge or experience to handle these various assignments because this area of law is so complex.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Judge rules on bankruptcy of nursing homes owned by Fort Lee company," by Hugh R. Morley, March 6, 2013

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