Friday, January 31, 2014

Tentative agreement at L+M

Those who read my blog know of the special relationship I have with the 3 presidents of L+M, Lisa, Stephanie and Harry.  They started as my mentors and supporters and they have become my sisters and brother.  You will also know of the courageous stand that they have taken over the past year simply in an effort to protect their members and the community of New London from a hospital that has forgotten it's mission.
Their executive boards, delegates, and negotiation teams have been incredible.
I lack the words to fully describe my admiration for the strength and solidarity of their members.

Fully a year ago, Harry, Lisa, and I, along with Greg, field rep for all 4 locals, traveled to Washington to speak to our legislators on this problem and to have Harry and Greg give a presentation to AFT healthcare presidents about it.  That was the groundwork that would lead to an unprecedented campaign in which the community, politicians, AFT locals, the AFL-CIO, and our brothers and sisters of all unions would join in solidarity and say in one voice, "I am L+M!"

Being illegally locked out of their own hospital for 3 weeks just before Christmas did not dampen the spirits of the L+M workers.  Yes they were cold, worried, and even scared.
But when the building trades cook you breakfast and lunch on the picket line, when other unions and individuals contribute over $65,000 in solidarity funds, when the Governor and his administration, US and Connecticut senators and representatives, the city mayor, and your national and state federation leadership march with you, when people drop off more coffee, donuts, and food than you can eat, when the United Way opens it's arms to you, when the Elks cook you a pasta meal, when the AFL-CIO donates Christmas presents for your kids, when the entire community comes out to support you............ warms you up, it eases your worries, it gives you strength.

After 7 days of an Unfair Labor Practice Trial, the United States and AFT v L+M Corporation, there has been a breakthrough.
A tentative agreement will be voted on by union membership on Monday.  If ratified it will settle both the ULP and the contract.

I am so proud of my L+M brothers and sisters, proud of my own members, many of whom grew to understand the word "solidarity", proud of my state federation and national federation, all it's members, leadership and remarkable staff, and proud of the labor/community movement.

In a time when personal profits are often the guiding light, we have seen a better light, a light that shows that people can come before profits.

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