Monday, March 19, 2012

Rally for our first contract

I was going to wait until morning to write this but I can't sleep.  This afternoon was so exciting that I feel like I've drank 10 cups of coffee. 

The Backus Federation of Nurses rally for a first contract was this afternoon.  You can read the reports in the papers, but about 200-250 people rallied outside the hospital and demanded that the hospital stop stalling and start negotiating in good faith.

Union members and labor leaders form across the state came to support the Backus nurses.  We were joined by leaders and members of several non profit groups and politicians. 

One of those politicians was our governor.

He called the hospital out on the way they have treated us and said, “All you’re asking for is to be treated fairly, for negotiations to meet appropriate timelines, for a decent wage and decent benefits.”

The support of the local community, the union members, the union leaders and the politicians has been overwhelming.  Among those who spoke were Governor Dan Malloy, John Olson, president of Connecticut AFL-CIO  and Lori Pelletier, Secretary-Treasurer, Wayne Burgess, president of the Southeastern CT Central Labor Council, Sharon Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut, Melodie Peters, first vice presidnet of AFT Connecticut, and Ken Delacruz, president of the Metal Trades Council at Electric Boat (and husband of Backus nurse organizer, Sue Delacruz.)

I feel a special connection to our AFT locals. The presidents of the three L+M locals and the Danbury Nurses all attended to support us.  Thank you Stephanie Lancaster, Lisa D'Abrosca, Harry Rodriguez, and Mary Consoli. Harry did a great job speaking and firing up the crowd.

Our own Michelle Hayes, from LDRP, gave a heartfelt speech about what it means to be a nurse and a coworker.

We strive for a hospital on the right path again.  A path that respects it's workers and that puts patients before profits. 

Is that too much to ask?

We want to work in a cooperative partnership with management.  I urge them to come to the table prepared to negotiate in good faith. We are strong and will not be deterred.

We aren't going away.

We've added a negotiation session this Wednesday night, at the Courtyard Marriott, exit 82.  It starts at 5:30 pm and may run all night.  All are invited and encouraged to attend for any part of it, come and go as you wish.

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