Thursday, January 8, 2015

Backus and L+M Locals standing up

I spent yesterday in Rocky Hill sitting next to Deb Chieppa, an IV specialty nurse and a member of my local.
She had been fired after a situation where she attempted but was unsuccessful in starting an IV on a patient.
A second IV nurse was called, and was successful on her second attempt.

Afterwards, the doctor complained that Deb should have tried again and the Hospital claimed the policy required her to attempt twice.
She was terminated for misconduct.

Deb felt, with her professional judgement based on 38 years of RN experience (23 at Backus in the IV therapy department), that further attempts by her would only harm the patient, and that perhaps a second nurse, with a fresh set of eyes, might have better luck.

It's similar to baseball.
Every team has an Ace pitcher, but some days, it's better to pull that pitcher and bring in a reliever to finish the game.
Often, a nurse will attempt only once, or not at all, if they see little chance of success.
It's really the right thing to do and the practice in real life.

We filed a grievance but could not come to an agreement, so an independent arbitrator (or judge) heard both sides and will make a decision.
We should have a decision by mid March.
That decision could be to uphold the hospital's action, to reinstate Deb with back pay and benefits, or some compromise in the middle.
How it turns out is important, but in some ways, what happened yesterday was just as important.

For the first time in the 120 year history of the hospital, an employee disagreed with management, we couldn't come to an agreement, but management didn't have the last word.

At the same time, the corporation to the south of Backus, L+M, has done it again!

You may recall they were placed on trial by the U S Government for violations of Labor Law in connection with the illegal lockout of there own employees last winter.
They were subsequently found guilty and the employees received back pay and benefits, but only after the hospital spend hundreds of thousands on lawyers and loss of public goodwill.

This time, another subsidiary, LMMG, violated the law by denying it's employees the right to free speech in the workplace as it pertained to speaking about a union, during an organizing campaign.
This repeated, blatant disregard for the law shocks me.
The trial will be in March.

They are a corporation chartered to do good for the community and they repeatedly break the law and deny their employees basic rights guaranteed under US and state law and contained in our constitution!

The only explanation is that they feel they are above the law.

They are not, and thank God the AFT locals of L+M are there to stand up to them and bring it to the attention of federal prosecutors.

These two situations are connected by this common thread.
They would not have occurred without the employees standing together, speaking with one voice, forming a union, and having a contract.

The individual voice speaking out is important, but when we speak out together, we have strength.

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