Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our first meeting

Monday night we had our first meeting with the management bargaining team.
It lacked some of the excitement of knocking on doors and having conversations with nurses or of turning out the vote and the count after. It was business like, but it is building a foundation for our union.
About 15 members of our bargaining committee sat across the table from 2 members from the management team. They were cordial. We presented proposed ground rules for the negotiations. We discussed them, across the table, and privately in caucus. We negotiated and came to an agreement. Management made a commitment to bargain in good faith, as both sides are required by law. We are happy to accept their commitment and will plan to match it.
We wanted negotiations at the hospital so that nurses could more easily come and see how things are going. Management rejected our proposal. They did agree to open negotiations.
This means, all nurses are welcome to come to all negotiation sessions. We are hoping nurses will come to as many of the sessions as possible. You don't need to stay for the entire session. You can come check it out and listen as long as you can. The bargaining committee believes this is important for two reasons.

First, we want an informed membership. It's important for every nurse to hear first hand where things are at. Second, we want management to see our strength and unity. The greater the number sitting behind us, the stronger we are at the table.

We are calling for a large turnout for negotiations, especially the first, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, August 3, 5:30 PM at the Holiday Inn in Norwich.
As I said, come for all of it or part of it, but please come. Remember this contract WILL apply to ALL nurses at Backus. This is your union.
It is as strong as you make it.

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