Saturday, June 20, 2015
Solidarity yesterday, today and tomorrow
I was my privilege to work with some of the nicest people in Connecticut this week.
I was in Danbury and New Milford, working with the healthcare workers of the two hospitals, AFT state and national staff and my fellow officers of AFT Connecticut.
These workers are the people who assist in the care of the patients, feed them, and keep the hospital clean and running and they are the lower paid employees of the hospital.
Many of them could make more money working in other industries but they know that what they do makes a difference in patient's lives and that matters to them.
That is why they came together over the last several months to fight for a voice at the workplace.
The hospitals' response was to hire union buster "consultants," hired to intimidate and lie to the workers and influence the election.
A month ago, AFT exposed the "consultants" as convicted thugs who had served time for their crimes.
It took the hospitals nearly a month to "fire" the "consultants, saying "individuals from the agency have “backgrounds contrary to our organizational values,”
Of course, the "individuals" were the 2 partners of the firm and the hospitals waited until just days before the election and only after workers turned up the heat.
By then, the damage had been done.
Charges of labor law violations by the hospital are being investigated by the NLRB.
At any rate, the illegal tactics had an effect, the workers narrowly voted not to unionize at this time.
Still, nearly half the workers, in the words of AFT CT Spokesman Matt O'Conner, "came together and raised their voices collectively and they have already made significant change.” “They didn’t gain the certification from the federal labor board for their union, but for all intents and purposes, they’ve already shown they’re stronger together.”
I won't lie.
This hurts, and it hurts because of a simple reason.
We care about the workers and the patients they provide care for.
They are our brothers and sisters. We are proud of them and we stand with them, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Because you stand with family when they go through rough times.
And you celebrate with them when times get better.