“My decision to vote ‘Union Yes’ was always about quality care for our patients and their families,” said Renee Stefanko, a certified surgical technologist with 13 years of patient care experience at Danbury Hospital. “We needed a voice not just to advocate for ourselves but also for those who depend on us. Now we can join forces with our nurses to make sure our community can count on the vital care they need,” she said.
Stefanko’s comments refer to the vote bringing the technical professionals into AFT Connecticut, which represents the non-profit network’s registered nurses (RNs) at both acute care facilities. The labor federation also represents nurses, technicians, and healthcare workers at seven additional hospitals in Connecticut, including the UConn Health Center in Farmington, and Lawrence + Memorial in New London.
“I voted ‘Yes’ because when hospital workers form unions it’s good for our patients,” said Patty Rose Farrell, a surgical technologist who has worked at Danbury Hospital for 17 years. “Having a union is about more than better wages and working conditions for us as workers. It’s also about having a seat at the table with management so we can collaborate to make improvements and improve the quality of care,” she said.
Farrell’s comments refer to improved health outcomes for patients found in acute care facilities where the workforce has collective bargaining representation. The authors of an Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) report released in June concluded that hospitals with successful organizing drives outperform those without any union election on numerous measures.
“Our state elected officials were right when they pointed out that the loyalty of management and employees to each other reflects on a hospital’s reputation,” said Melodie Peters, an LPN and president of AFT Connecticut. “We couldn’t agree more, and look forward to a more collaborative relationship,” said Peters, who is also a former state senator.
Peters’ comments refer to a letter sent Monday by members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to both WCHN’s chief executive officer (CEO) and the union. The letter from U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Representatives Elizabeth Esty (CD-5) and Jim Himes (CD-4) urged both sides to abide by the election’s results. The elected officials also pointed out that “wages, benefits, and conditions are stronger among unionized employees” resulting in a workforce with higher “loyalty and productivity.”
AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care hospital workers in the state, represents approximately 125 registered nurses at New Milford Hospital and 600 RNs at Danbury Hospital. Follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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