Saturday, March 2, 2013

Legislative Breakfast

This morning Carol Adams and I attended a legislative breakfast for the southeast CT area. It was an opportunity to get together with members of other AFT locals and area legislators to discuss issues of interest.
There was an excellent turnout with teachers, department of corrections, parole, and healthcare represented. Our 3 sister locals at L+M were, as always, well represented, and our state federation was represented by our field rep, our state president and vice president, our lobbyist and her intern, and our membership mobilization coordinator.
Senators Osten and Stillman as well as Representatives Jutila, Wright, Bowles, Riley, and Department of Labor Commissioner Palmer took time from their busy schedules to listen to us.
The legislators spent time at each table, listening concerns of interest to each group, then they moved on to the next table. Someone joked it was "speed dating" but there was plenty of time for conversations.
Carol and I relayed information and asked for support for 3 bills.
One would prohibit employers from requiring employees to receive annual flu vaccine as a condition of employment.
Another would require hospitals to report staffing levels.
The third would require " for profit" hospitals to report the same financial information as "not for profit" hospitals.
I'll break these down in more detail in future blogs.
The first 2 are issues that our members have told us are important to them and the last one could become more important in the future.
The bills were developed by the AFT CT Healthcare Council, to which I belong, and the AFT CT Political Action Committee, to which Carol belongs.
In addition to pledging support on our issues, several of the legislators, as well as our state federation president are planning to help at our food drive next Saturday.
I know, this is dry and to most, incredibly boring, but I want you to understand what goes on behind the scene. I want you to understand that when we ask if you can testify before a committee to support a bill, that it does make a difference.
As healthcare workers, we must advocated at the bedside, in the community, and at the Capitol.