“This should be a wake-up call for the leadership of our community’s health network,” said L+M registered nurse (RN) and AFT Local 5049 President Lisa D’Abrosca. “They should be ashamed that managers at an outpatient facility with the L+M name broke the law. They should reign in these law breakers before they destroy what’s left of our hospital’s reputation,” said D’Abrosca, who represents approximately 540 RNs at the acute care facility.
D’Abrosca’s comments refer to Lawrence + Memorial Corporation (LMC), the parent non-profit that operates L+M and LMMG, and is the region’s largest provider of acute care, inpatient and outpatient health services. Its network also includes the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut (VNASC), the Center for Hospice Care, and Westerly Hospital, all overseen by an elected board of incorporators.
“We warned the board last fall that administration was again wasting patient care dollars,” said L+M sleep lab technician Stephanie Johnson. “Now they know that managers’ tactics against the caregivers at LMMG weren’t just costly; they were illegal,” said Johnson, president of AFT Local 5051, representing the hospital’s approximately 250 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), healthcare technicians and technologists.
Johnson’s comments refer to a full page ad placed in November in The Day on the first anniversary of the 2013 strike by L+M’s RNs, LPNs and techs. The ad exposed the more than $100,000 that had been spent in order to subvert LMMG employees’ legal rights to unite for a voice in decisions impacting patient care.
“The community didn’t support the administration’s unfair labor practices in 2013,” said Harry Rodriguez, a neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) coordinator at L+M. “Why did their managers think the community would support more of the same in 2014? The board should resolve in 2015 to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all,” said Rodriguez, who also serves as president of AFT Local 5123, representing more than 800 healthcare workers at the hospital.
Rodriguez’ comments refer to the unfair labor practices that led the nurses and techs to stage the first strike by L+M employees in its history. The NLRB in August, 2013 issued a complaint against LMC for use of “alter ego” tactics that displaced the hospital’s professional staff as services were shifted to LMMG outpatient facilities.
“As a union and as caregivers, we believe it’s our obligation to speak out for our community and our patients,” said Melodie Peters, president of AFT Connecticut. “Just like we did in 2013, we will not allow the reckless and illegal behavior of L+M managers to stand. We appreciate that the federal labor board is once again not letting it stand either,” said Peters, who previously represented the region in the state senate.
L+M nurses and techs’ union leaders and LMC administration last February reached a settlement to resolve the unfair labor practices cited in the NLRB’s 2013 complaint. Terms of that agreement included adoption by both parties of “core principles” designed to create an atmosphere of “mutual respect” for employees of any LMC entity seeking to organize. The December complaint cites conduct by LMMG managers in clear violation of the agreement, including threats of “unspecified reprisals” as well as “interfering with, restraining, and coercing” employees.
AFT Connecticut represents approximately 10,000 health professionals in the state, including 1,600 nurses, technicians, and healthcare workers at L+M Hospital in New London, and 130 nurses and home health aides based at the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut in Waterford. Follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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