“The labor board’s complaint sends a clear message to L&M Corporation and the whole health management industry in America,” said Lisa D’Abrosca, a registered nurse at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Local 5049. “They cannot use shell corporations to avoid their obligation to the communities they are supposed to serve,” she said. Local 5049 represents approximately 539 registered nurses at L&M Hospital.
In their complaint, the NLRB charges L&M Corp. with creating an alter ego in the guise of Lawrence & Memorial Physician Associates (LMPA). They have recently changed the name to Lawrence & Memorial Medical Group (LMMG) as a way to incorporate the doctors employed by Atlantic Medical Group at Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island. LMPA and LMMG are both owned and operated by L&M and are run by many of the same executives, management personnel, and members of their respective board of directors.
“Management should devote their time, energy and resources to patient care, not union busting,” said Harry Rodriguez, a health unit coordinator at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Local 5123. “But that is exactly what they’ve been doing by creating these shell corporations to displace the hospital’s professional caregivers and healthcare staff,” he said. More than 800 healthcare workers in 93 different job classifications are members of Local 5123.
In their initial unfair labor practice (ULP) charge to the NLRB, L&M Hospital caregivers and healthcare workers charged the corporation created LMPA to displace the work of union members. There are approximately 150 caregivers and support staff at LMPA who receive pay and benefits that are far less than the workers they replaced, driving down the region’s direct care standards.
“The labor board complaint is an opportunity for management to do the right thing,” said Stephanie Johnson, a sleep lab technician at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Local 5051. “They should allow LMPA’s staff to continue to serve our community but at the same standard that caregivers and healthcare workers like us fought so hard to achieve,” she said. L&M Hospital’s approximately 250 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and technicians are members of Local 5051.
After a lengthy investigation, the NLRB’s proposed remedy to the ULP charge is for L&M Corp. to recognize the services performed at LMPA as the same as those performed at the hospital. The board’s acting general counsel is also seeking to require the corporation provide the union’s contract pay and benefits to the affected workers at LMPA retroactive to January of this year.
“This is an historic moment and a potential turning point for health management CEOs across the country,” said Melodie Peters, president of AFT Connecticut. “This complaint exposes L&M for behaving like a greedy for-profit corporation and should move them to act as the non-profit community partner that patients, families, and healthcare workers deserve,” she said.
AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care hospital workers in the state, represents approximately 1,600 nurses, LPNs, technicians, and healthcare workers at L&M Hospital in New London. Follow the union on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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