Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I have been posting a lot on worker's rights and struggles recently.
I know that.
This blog is supposed tone about my views and my life.
What can I say?
This HAS been my life.
But why do we do what we do?
That's a question we should ask ourselves.
We do it for our patients, our students, and the public we serve.
But we also do it for ourselves and our families, so that this will be a little better world to live in, a little fairer, a little kinder.
Its a never ending job, with a goal, but no finish line.
It's important to take time to step back, look at the journey, and just enjoy life along the way.
My son got us a gift, and this weekend we're enjoying it.
We're staying overnight at a very nice hotel in Hartford and then going to the Science Center to see "Bodies Reveled"
Most important, we're taking just a little time to stop and enjoy life, and each other.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Work was busier than usual, what with nearby L+M Hospital's illegal Lock Out of the nurses and techs, I've spent extra time working in a support role to see those nurses and techs get the respect they deserve, and that's taken time.
The nurses and techs became more united with each passing day and now are back at work, a great Christmas present for everyone.
My members stepped up and grew as unionists by walking the line and donating support money. I'm proud of them and thankful. Another Christmas present.
My wife, Michelle, and family supported the extra time I spent in New London and I think saw the reason for my passion in the faces of the nurses, techs, significant others, and children.
Still, I know the time is a sacrifice I can never repay Michelle, yet she puts up with me and supports me just the same.
Another Christmas present.
Christmas always seems to come too quick, I never seem ready, this year maybe less ready than usual.
But as I sit here and reflect on the love I have seen this past month, the "goodwill toward men", directed to the nurses, techs and families, as I reflect on the feeling that we make a difference, as I think of how lucky I am to have found Michelle all those years ago,
Maybe I am ready for Christmas.
May God bless you all. May you have the best Christmas ever. May Santa be good to you.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
First, Nurses and Techs illegally Locked Out of their own hospital, prohibited from caring for their patients, found out that they will receive unemployment retroactive to December 1.
Our hope is that the sought after injunction will come soon and open L+M's doors again.
Second, Santa arrived today, accompanied by City of New London Fire Trucks and maned by Firefighters Local 1522, delivering toys to the children of the Nurses and Techs, donated by many generous people and with the help of the ULA (United Labor Agency), which is the community service division of the AFL-CIO.
And last, L+M CFO Lou Inzana resigned.
There is much speculation over this resignation, in the middle of an illegal Lock Out.
Some point to the Westerly Hospital purchase.
Some point to news articles of the Caymon Island Hedge Fund.
Some question the cost of continuing this illegal Lock Out.
And some wonder if he could no longer support the leadership of the CEO, Bruce Cummings.
We have no way of knowing the reasons.
What we do know, is that the administration of Cummings is unraveling.
Political support has long ago left him, as has community support.
Costly, questionable business decisions have turned a profitable hospital into a hospital in trouble in one year.
Most important of all, there is no confidence in Cummings ability to lead this hospital going forward.
AFT is a strong, respected union of professionals, supported by all of organized labor, political friends, and the community, and led in this struggle by the nurses, techs, and healthcare workers of Locals 5049, 5051, and 5123.
There is leadership at L+M, and it's found in AFT.
The money's gone to the Caymons, the CFO to Maine, maybe it's time for for Cummings to go too.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
19 hours ago!
They are fighting for a contract that gives security to the members and families, but also to the patients and community. They are fighting for respect and the right to return to work.
The community and organized Labor has been unbelievable in it's support.
But we should take a moment to look at ourselves.
As our dedicated negotiations team worked through the night, supported by members present, other members manned the picket line in the cold and snow.
Our AFT Connecticut staff has been at the table and in the cold with us the entire way, our filed reps, organizers, office staff and others. The best Union staff ever!
The other AFT Locals have contributed financially, with boots on the ground, and with encouraging support.
We have been led by the amazing presidents and executive boards of Locals 5059, 5051, 5123, AFT Connecticut, and AFT Washington.
We need to understand that the AFT is a respected leader in the movement for equality and fairness and that we are playing a large role in that struggle.
The corporation that runs L+M Hospital needs to understand two things.
We seek what is in the best interest of L+M Hospital, because we are L+M.
We are united in our resolve to see this through.
My sincere hope is that an agreement can be reached soon that offers respect to the dedicated care givers of L+M Hospital and allows them to return to providing excellent care to their patients.
My sincere thanks to the negotiations team, staff, and members of 5059, 5051 and 5123, who are doing the heavy lift and showing us what solidarity looks like in practice.
The rest of AFT will continue to stand with you.....
One day longer than is needed.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
We have our own Holiday stories in New London as reported by Judy Benson in The Day .
L+M Corporation Locked Out the nurses and techs, threatening to arrest them if they set foot on the property of their community hospital.
The Locked out nurses and techs of L+M Hospital are in need of many things.
Having lost their insurance, some have family members getting chemo, dialysis or other expensive treatments, so they need help to pay for COBRA.
Having lost their paychecks, some are in need of mortgage and rent assistance.
With the cold temperatures, heating is an issue.
And there will be less presents this Christmas, but every child deserves something.
The community has stepped forward.
The hardship fund collected $20,000 in the first 24 hours and continues to collect, the United Way is helping in many, many ways, the Teamsters have donated turkeys, the ULA has committed toys, the Building Trades and the Elks have provided meals, cars stop at the picket line and drop off food and hot coffee, and there is so much more.
On Tuesday, Santa will arrive at the picket line, in a fire truck provided by the New London Fire Department.
At the same time, these same nurses and techs are helping others!
This is one such example.
For the last four years, the staff of the neurology unit (union and nonunion, managers and staff) have adopted a needy family in the area each Christmas. With half the employees forbidden entry into the hospital, unable to use their hospital email, and facing financial hardship themselves, the program was is jeopardy this year. At first, the Locked Out workers thought about trying to complete the project themselves, but they felt that didn't keep to the spirit of what they were doing. Through Facebook, they were able to connect to the people inside, and yesterday, they delivered the gifts to the Elks, who will distribute them to the family.
Because, just like the people who have reached out to help them, these care givers are bound by ethical principles that we are one family, responsible for each other.
The caregivers of L+M Hospital (union and nonunion) understand this Spirit of Christmas, they live it every day, throughout the year.
The community of New London and the people who have sent help from all over the country understand, they have proven it.
If the administration of L+M Corporation understood this, we wouldn't have the situation we are in.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Negotiations scheduled for next Monday will take place tomorrow instead.
These will be the first negotiations in 11 days.
I sincerly hope that L+M Corporation comes ready to offer real proposals.
I hope they have finally come to realize that the coalition between the nurses, techs, and community is real, lasting, and cannot be broken.
In the last 3 weeks New London has shown a solidarity seldom seen, a solidarity based on a concept that this hospital belongs to them, not L+M Corporation.
What began as a campaign slogan has been taken into their hearts.
I AM L+M!
The outpouring of support, in the form of community on the picket line, the donations of coffee, donuts, food, turkeys, toys, cooked meals, cash, and love is the outward sign of that solidarity.
It is not too late for the leadership of L+M Corporation to put the needs of the community first.
But make no mistake.
Should this be another false start,
Should L+M Corporation offer their same unacceptable proposals.
Should they continue their disrespect of the nurses, techs, and community,
then I have no doubt in my mind that this coalition will stand strong, in solidarity, knowing that Right is on their side.
How long will this coalition stand together?
One day longer than needed.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
In an incredible insult, he has asked the workers to vote yes on his "last, best offer" by Monday and he'll give them a $1000 bonus.
It's an insult because to the nurses and techs this isn't about money, it's about being able to continue to care for their patients.
To think that these dedicated, ethically driven health care workers could be bribed is the height of insult.
But, then again, this is common in the world the CEO lives in. In his world it's common to sell one's soul to the highest bidder.
Let's set the record straight.
The CEO has illegally moved work out of the hospital to a shell corporation and denied the experienced health care workers the opportunity to follow their patients. Furthermore, he has illegally Locked them out of their own hospital, in the cold, away from their patients, and stopped their paychecks and insurance, all just before the holidays.
All to move a few more dollars into his pocket because, apparently, $15,000/week isn't enough for him.
His offer of a bonus is a desperate attempt to divide the dedicated health care workers, who you can imagine, are under an incredible amount of stress.
It is time for the board of directors to stand up and do the right thing. Bruce Cummings is not L+M Hospital.
The health care workers, the community, the governor, senators, representatives, and mayor who are out on the picket line, are L+M Hospital.
Bruce must go.
Don't let the door hit you in the @#* on the way out.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
You've heard the phrase "angels" used in the past for health care workers.
The truth is, these people are angels.
They have made a decesion to devote their lives to the care of others.
The community has always looked upon them in this light.
The lockout continues and the hospital displays it antics and spreads it's lies, day after day after day.
The nurses and techs continue to stand outside, waiting to return to their hospital, their patients.
The temperatures drop lower every night, the rain and snow falls.
These "angles" are beginning to be seen in a new light, as
At first it was the more "manly" members of organised labor, the painters, carpenters, and other building trades, the Teamsters, the Medal trade workers of EB, and such.
They looked upon these "angels", LOCKED out in the cold, fighting for their patients against cooperated and personal greed, and they said,
"Not on my watch"
They carry signs, they march, they cook wonderful lunches, they buy toys and turkeys, they donate cash, all to show their concern for these "angles", these folk heros.
Then the community came, horns honking in support, dropping off coffee, donuts, food, toys for the children, and cash. The march and carry signs too.
They open up the Elks club to provide a meal for all and their families, feed their stomachs, but more, saying thank you.
Thank you for standing up against what is wrong, thank you for standing up for me.
I expected the working class community to join in, and they have in droves, but perhaps more moving to me is the doctors on their way home from the office and hospital and business people in suits.
They too need "heros", people standing up because it is the right thing to do.
The nurses and techs never sought this, they simply want to care for their patients.
But heros never seek to be heros.
They a regular people who see harm done to someone or something they care deeply about and they cannot ignor it any more.
They somehow muster up the courage, put aside personnal security, and take a stand.
I want to close with one example of how these heros are inspiring others.
We have at my hospital (Backus) about 23 people who missed the signup deadline and may have to go without health insurance for an entire year.
We are working on a solution, but the outcome is uncertain.
Yesterday one of the effected nurses sent me this email, in the mist of her troubles, she was thinking of others.
Hi John, can you sent me the site where donation can be made for those who where locked out?. thanks
Heros inspire us.
If, like my nurse, you'd like to help, you can donate at
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Down in New London, my friends are standing out in this cold, a hundred yards from their hospital.
One week ago their CEO locked them out.
What kind of man does that?
These dedicated nurses and techs stages a 4 day legal strike, to protest the fact that this man has engaged in a practice of firing their coworkers, moving their work to other buildings, and replacing the workers with new workers at below living wages and benefits, all while buying Westerly Hospital and pulling in $800,000/year in salary.
That's over $15,000 a week!
What kind of man?
The nurses and techs are ready to return to work, in fact, they tried and were threatened with arrest for trespass.
The are ready to meet 24/7 to continue to come to a resolution, and willing and wanting, to work while they do this, but he has agreed to just one session in the past week (after pressure from U S Senators, congressman, the Mayor, and every other area politician) and then he offered nothing new.
What kind of man?
The kind of man who does not believe that workers should have a voice, the ability to speak and advocate for themselves, their patients, and their community.
He wants to break them.
So, he locks them out in the cold, away from their work, their vocation, their patients.
He stands on one side.
The nurses and techs on the other side.
A classic showdown.
A line in the sand.
On the side of the nurses and techs, (you know, the 24 degree side), stands both U S senators and our Congressman, the Mayor, every area state senator and representative, the governor, secretary of state, comptroller, state attorney general, labor commissioner and every other state leader, social and religious leaders, millions of members of organized labor across this country, and most important, the people of the area.
On the other side stands the hospital CEO.
It's 24 degrees on the outside, but it's not cold and it's not lonely.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I would imagine the L+M CEO is keeping you updated on developments with the lockout.
I imagine you're wondering how 800 seemingly dedicated employees could force such a thing, and hoping they will come to their senses soon so this thing can end.
I imagine you're wondering how Governor Malloy, Senators Blumethal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, Mayor Finizio, all the state senators and representatives and prominent members of the New London community could side with the workers.
Your probably thinking it's just a political stand they are taking.
However, you know some of these people.
Either you work along side them, or go to church with them, or serve on committees with them.
Could they all be wrong?
Could they all be politically motivated?
Could they all be fooled by "the union?"
The nurses and techs are ready to go back to work.
They tried to do that last Saturday.
They were told they would be arrested if they set foot on their community hospital property.
You have the power to end this lockout.
You can instruct the hospital CEO to bring the nurses and techs back while negotiations continue.
I urge you to keep an open mind, to talk with the people you know who are locked out or support those who are locked out.
Thank you for your service to the community and consideration of my thoughts,
John Brady RN
Backus Hospital Emergency Nurse
Backus Federation of Nurses
AFT Local 5149
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I learned of Nelson Mandela's passing while I walked the picket line today.
Truly one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, he spent years in prison because he would not stop speaking out for justice, and eventually, he would serve as presidnet of the same country that imprisoned him.
Was he ever scared? I'm sure he was.
Did he ever doubt he would be successful in the end? I would imagine he did.
But his integrity would not let him retreat from his beliefs or his mission, and the support of those who believed as he did sustained him.
A picket line is certainly not a prison, but it can be a place of doubt, anxiety and fear.
Today, our brothers from the Building Trades showed us that they are part of our support.
They showed up, set up, cooked up, and served up.
Lunch, that is.
In doing so, they fed not only our stomachs, they fed our souls.
Thanks brothers, you're the best!
Nelson would be proud.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
And whereas that same corporation has locked out its own workers
And whereas the governor, both US senators and our congressman, all area state senators and representatives, the mayor of New London, all of organized labor, and the southeastern Connecticut community stands with the L+M workers
And whereas we share a common responsibility to provide care for that community
Therefore be it resolved that the Backus Federation of Nurses,
Monday, December 2, 2013
This by itself would make a great blog, don't you think?
Andrew Rodriguez Very proud to call you my father right now. Its always refreshing when you get to meet people who are passionate about their beliefs and are willing to stand up and fight for their rights. God Bless Local 5123 and God Bless Locals 5049 & 5051!!!
In a nutshell, it's how I feel about the 3 true leaders of L+M
I had the privilege to be with them last winter when they visited Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Congressman Courtney in Washington to tell them how the hospital CEO was firing workers when he moved work, instead of letting the workers follow the work.
I was there when they spoke before the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention and emphatically reached out for help.
I watched Harry give a presentation to AFT presidents about how this shell game could spread to other hospitals.
I was there when they presented their case to the Southeastern CT Labor Council, a council on which Lisa is Vice President.
I've watched as Stephanie has raised one finger, in front of state federation staff and officers and said, "Excuse me, I have the floor!"
I have also seen them in quiet times, when the concern for each and every individual member shown on their faces.
And I am sure I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
They carry the weight of the welfare of 1600 L+M workers and their families.
When they say "brother and sister", they not only mean it, they feel it.
Their decisions and leadership ability will effect not only the outcome of the L+M Lockout, but the direction of AFT Connecticut Healthcare, and the Connecticut Labor Movement, and beyond.
Yet to watch them at a rally, you'd think this is just a "fun in the spotlight" moment for them.
It is not.
They understand the importance of the role they play.
They do so not out of any sense of personal gain.
They do it because they find themselves in this position, at this time, and inside them is something that screams....
"These are MY people, and you will respect them!"
They have become my good friends,
they are for sure, my mentors,
they are most definitely, my heroes.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
John Brady RN, President,