“We want a resolution, not a lockout,” said L&M Hospital registered nurse and AFT Local 5049 President Lisa D’Abrosca. “The corporation is reacting in a reckless and irresponsible way to our lawful efforts to hold them accountable. Even our state’s political leaders urged them not to lock us out from treating our patients,” she said. Approximately 540 RNs at the hospital are represented by Local 5049.
D’Abrosca’s comments refer to statements of support made Friday by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal to the striking nurses and caregivers. Blumenthal yesterday joined Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney in a statement saying, “imposing a lockout carries grave risk,” and urged “no further escalation of the dispute.”
“The people of this community deserve the truth from the hospital’s administration,” said L&M Hospital sleep lab technician and AFT Local 5051 President Stephanie Johnson. “Instead, the corporation is trying to fool our community into thinking they locked us out over wages and benefits,” she said. Local 5051 represents the hospital’s approximately 250 LPNs and technicians, including mammography, CAT Scan, and nuclear medicine technologists.
Johnson’s comments refer to a misleading full-page ad the corporation placed today in The Day that contains inaccurate and incorrect salary figures for the hospital’s nurse and techs. The ad also creates the false impression that the caregivers took the unprecedented action of striking over economic issues rather than unfair labor practices and their impact on patient care. The nurses and techs are concerned that the corporation is attempting to distort the record and confuse the community in order to deflect mounting criticism of their conduct.
“We want to return to work to take care of our patients and to provide the quality care they deserve,” said Christina Chapman, a registered nurse in the acute rehabilitation unit with 28 years of experience at L&M Hospital. “The corporation would rather be understaffed with less competent ‘scabs’ who don’t know our patients, our hospital or our community,” said Chapman, a member of Local 5049.
Chapman’s comments refer to the public admission by its spokesman that the hospital is relying on approximately 200 temporary replacement workers to provide critical patient care services during their lockout. These “scabs” — outside workers brought in by management to displace permanent employees in a labor dispute — are incapable of handling the workload of the hospital’s nearly 800 skilled, professional caregivers.
“The folks running this hospital need to respect, not ignore, community concerns and patient needs,” said Melodie Peters, an LPN who worked at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Connecticut. “It’s time for the corporation’s board of directors to respond to the people and the elected and community leaders of this region who are saying, ‘We are ‘L+M.’ They need to hold the hospital’s administration accountable,” said Peters, who is also a former state senator from the region.
Peters’ comments refer to an outpouring of support for the caregivers over the past week, including rallies every day beginning Thursday that generated huge crowds in front of the hospital. Hundreds turned out last night to stand with the nurses and techs scheduled for the night shift to bear witness as they were subjected to the corporation’s lockout.
# # #
AFT Connecticut represents over 10,500 acute care hospital workers in the state, including 1,600 registered nurses, LPNs, technicians, and healthcare workers at L&M Hospital in New London. Follow the labor federation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.