Sunday, November 1, 2015

What has happened to our community hospitals?

It takes a lot for a group of hospital employees to stand together in unity and form a union. 
It is not in their nature.
They are people who give of themselves to others every day and they so very much want to believe that others feel the same.
Especially, the hospital they work for.

However, when they believe that the hospital no longer shares their viewpoint, when they believe that the hospital cares more about lining the pockets of the few at the top than caring for the patients in the beds, then there is no group with more conviction, more courage, and more solidarity than these same workers.

This is the situation today in the Western Connecticut Health Network, the corporation that owns Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and hospitals.

In the past year, 3 groups of workers have decided to stand together and form unions because they could no longer stand by and watch their community hospitals forgetting to put Patients Before Profits.
One year ago, LPNs, Techs and Therapists at Danbury and New Milford voted to affiliate with AFT.
This past June Health Care Workers at Danbury and New Milford voted.
This past week, Health Care Workers at Norwalk Hospital filed for a vote with CHCA, a sister healthcare union affiliated with ASCME.

The result?
The Network is dragging their feet in negotiations with the LPNs, Techs, and Therapists, not even agreeing with language that has served well for 35 years in the contract between the hospitals and the Registered Nurses.  It is clearly an attempt to discourage the workers and break their union.
It will not work.
The Danbury/New Milford Healthcare Workers lost their vote in June by a very narrow margin in an election with so many labor law violations that the U S Government took the Network to trial, overturned the vote, and ordered a new election. That vote will be soon, the workers await a date, expected to be in early December.

This week, the NLRB, the branch of the U S Government charged with enforcing labor laws enacted by the U S Congress and signed into law by presidents, both Democrat and Republican, after a thorough investigation, has found evidence that Danbury CEO Dan DeBarba and the union busting consultants he hired, violated the law again!
Specifically, they are charged with "interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights."

The trial with be January 26, 2016 at 10:00 am in Hartford.

I want you to understand something.
This is not the workers, or AFT, or "the union' suing the Hospital Network or Dan DeBarba.
It is the United States Government putting them on trial for violating the law.

What has happened to our community hospitals?

Danbury Rising, a coalition of faith and community groups, workers, and legislators,  will stand together tonight in Danbury at 5:00 pm at Broadview Middle School for a short Candlelight Vigil to remind the Health Network  that they exist for the patients, not the other way around.

Please join us.

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