Brius workers strike and picket in Marin County

Brius workers went on strike in San Rafael and picketed in Novato, Calif. Tuesday in response to the nursing home conglomerate’s refusal to finalize contracts unless they agree to take down BriusWatch.

Dozens workers formed picket lines and chanted outside both facilities. Several nursing home residents (including the man pictured below) took part in the action.

“We are the voice for our residents,” said Maria Martinez, a veteran nursing assistant in San Rafael. “It is time for us to show the company that they need to do the right thing. And that we are not going to be silent. And every single thing they do, we are going to bring it out to the community.”

Numerous allies attended the picket lines including Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, and representatives for Assemblymember Marc Levine, the North Bay Labor Council, SEIU 1021 and the Marin Association of Public Employees.

Also stopping by in San Rafael were representatives from the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse.

Brius Watch is regularly viewed by a variety of regulatory and law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, California Department of Consumer Affairs, California Franchise Tax Board, and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

Brius and NUHW caregivers were close to agreeing on a labor contract for caregivers at both facilities when Brius officials illegally demanded that the union take BriusWatch off the internet. The union filed formal charges against Brius with the National Labor Relations Board, noting that websites are not subject to collective bargaining.

Many of the striking caregivers have gone up to five years without raises, but are leery of agreeing to take down the watchdog website when Brius continues to leave their facilities understaffed and under-resourced.

Since 2015, regulators have cited the San Rafael home for stocking expired food and supplying so few towels and wash cloths that caregivers have had to use paper towels to dry residents. In June, the California Department of Public Health fined the facility $15,000 for failing to meet minimum staffing levels for nursing assistants, LVNs and RNs.

“We’re letting the community know that we are here standing up for our patients,” Martinez said during a noontime rally in San Rafael. “This union doesn’t let this company get away with anything. We’re going to fight.”

Brius staffed both facilities with replacement workers, most of whom were bussed in from Nevada. The company indicted it planned to lock out its employees for two days following the strike.