Monday, September 23, 2013

"Rules of (Community) Engagement"

I came home from work and sat down to write a letter to L+M Hospital CEO Bruce Cummings to tell him I stood with the New London community in opposition to the layoffs and threatened layoffs, the elimination of the Kid Safe program, the direction he is leading the hospital.  A direction that puts profits and executive compensation ahead of patients and the community's needs.
The letter writing is part of a community action campaign to influence the hospital, reminding hospital executives that it is a "community" hospital.  The campaign is aptly named "I am L+M."

When I finished, I warmed some leftovers and sat down to eat dinner, and I picked up my AFT Healthcare workers magazine, HeathWire, which had just come today.
The cover story is titled "Rules of (Community) Engagement" and reports on the coalition between organized labor, faith based groups, and community groups to reclaim their communities, in particular at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, Fletcher Allen Heath Care in Vermont, and Christ Hospital in New Jersey.

I thought, that's exactly what we did at Backus and are doing now at L+M!

It's an idea that AFT is totally behind and the AFL-CIO will take up at the convention late this month.  

The idea is this.  
Organized labor, faith based groups, and community action groups share many of the same concerns, all centered around the idea that the working class and low income workers of this country have been sacrificed while the top 1% have benefited, and that this is bad not only for those adversely effected, but for our country and society as well.
It's an idea that takes the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and organizes it to be effective.  It involves phone banking, letter writing, informational  picketing, political action, and more.

Take L+M for example.  Among other things, the hospital is threatening to layoff the kitchen and housekeeping staff and replace them with a private firm.  These are the lowest paid workers at the hospital.  They buy their groceries at the local stores, they attend local churches, they have kids in local schools and on local sports teams.  These are not just "numbers", they are our neighbors, and what effects them effects us.  
So the community is coming to their aide.
I welcome you to be part of the movement.
Write the CEO and tell him to do the right thing.
Bruce Cummings
L+M Hospital
365 Montauk Ave
New London, CT 06320

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