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Workers and their Unions Join Fight for “Fairness, Justice, and Equity” in Connecticut’s Hospitals

“I am proud of my union sisters and brothers for taking a stand for fairness, justice, and equity in our state’s hospitals,” said Melodie Peters, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and president of AFT Connecticut. “They have committed to reverse disturbing trends in the healthcare industry that jeopardize access to quality patient care and infringe on workers’ civil rights,” she said. Peters has long served on the AFL-CIO’s Executive Board and today was elected by delegates to the convention as the federation’s Executive Vice-President for a four-year term.
 
Leaders of the 29,000-strong AFT Connecticut and its member unions representing caregivers and healthcare workers at Lawrence & Memorial (L&M) Hospital in New London submitted the resolution for consideration. The proposal arose as part of a three-point plan AFT’s Executive Committee adopted earlier this month to reverse inequities in employment, governing, and procurement among the state’s hospitals. A principal component is educating the community on the “Economic Reciprocity Initiative Healthcare Survey Report” prepared by the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
 
“We deserve better from our community hospitals,” said Stephanie Johnson, a sleep lab technician at L&M Hospital. “They have a responsibility as non-profit institutions and providers of essential services to reflect the communities they serve. That’s why we adopted language for the contract we are negotiating right now to support the NAACP’s initiative. We want more people of color, just like myself, to provide our community with quality care and services,” she said. Johnson is also president of AFT Local 5051, which represents approximately 250 LPNs and technicians at L&M Hospital.
 
The resolution also addresses efforts by Johnson and her co-workers to hold Lawrence & Memorial Corporation (LMC) accountable for violating federal labor laws in order to boost their profits. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled a hearing for October 21 to hear testimony on the unions’ charge that LMC is creating “alter-ego” shell operations. 
 
AFT Connecticut is a labor federation of 29,000 hard-working teachers and school support staff, nurses and healthcare workers, higher education faculty and public service workers from more than 90 local unions throughout the state. Follow the union on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
 
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