Friday, November 29, 2013

Strike Update

The last few days have been a whirlwind.
Our sister locals at L+M hospital went out on a 4 day unfair labor practice strike on Wednesday.
Then the hospital threatened to lock them out.
Wednesday meant picketing in the wind and rain.
Thursday (Thanksgiving) meant turkey, stuffing, pies, etc donated and dropped off at the picket line from people and restaurants of the New London area. I had my turkey meal in the RV with Lisa D'Arosca, president of the L+M RNs.
Lisa, and Stephanie Johnson, president of the LPN/Techs, have been living at the picket line.  Stephanie went horse for a while from using the bullhorn.
Harry Rodriguez, president of the Healthcare Local, is barred from the picket line, because his local is in the middle of a contract, so Harry has been holding down the fort at the office.
Our professional staff from AFT Connecticut and AFT national have been unbelievable.  We always rely on them for their expertise, and this week they have been putting in long, long hours.
Brother Ole actually fell asleep while standing up at the picket line in the middle of the night, in the cold.  He awoke when he started to fall to the ground.
I've always considered healthcare work more as a vocation than a profession. Our professional organizers, field reps, and others approach their work in the same way.
Our elected leaders in Rocky Hill and Washington have been wonderful.
Melodie, Steve, and Jean have been on the line, and today we were joined by national president, Randi Weingarten.
I have been in email contact with Randi, AFT VP Francine Lawrence, AFT Healthcare Director Mary MacDonald, and NFN president Steve Rooney, all expressing support and pledging to involve others across the country.
I was asked to speak at the rally today.
Our political leaders are with us. Senator Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Mayor Finizio, and too many state senators and representatives to mention have walked the line, Senator Blumenthal twice.  Senator Murphy was unable to come, so he sent his top aide. Perhaps as important, are the phone calls they have made and the pressure they have exerted to force L+M back to the table.
Our brothers and sisters from so, so many other unions have joined us, as well as the entire community.
I'm proud that my people, from Backus, where among them.
All this support has forced the hospital back to the table tonight, hopefully in a more reasonable mood, and hopefully, they will reconsider their threat to lock out the nurses and techs when they return to work tomorrow night.
a whirlwind.
Where will it end?
Hopefully with a contract that gives reasonable job protection to the nurses and techs, that's all they want, to be able to return to work and, if that work is moved to an outside building, to follow that work.
No matter what happens, the community and the workers are standing together, in solidarity.

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