Danbury Nurses Fight for Safe Staffing

Union President Mary Consoli noted, “the Corporation stated these concessions were necessary to avoid the 21 nursing layoffs it chose to implement, but offered no guarantee that more layoffs would not occur. They could have taken these concessions and then laid off more nurses next month. We would, not under any circumstances, accept such terms when our top priority is our patients. We simply cannot jeopardize safe staffing levels.”
 
These layoffs will have a direct impact on patient care. “Any loss of nurses will affect the care our patients receive,” said Consoli. “It is unclear how many nurses will actually lose their jobs. The Union is enforcing contractual bumping rights and some of the laid off nurses will be able to take vacant positions. Unfortunately, many of these are with reduced hours so the cost of health benefits will change,“ said Consoli.
 
“It is a sad time for our membership,” said Consoli, “and what makes it worse is that the cuts are unnecessary and avoidable.”
 
Danbury Hospital CEO John Murphy and the WCHN Corporation decided that maintaining a very robust three percent operating margin was more important than maintaining the level of care Danbury Hospital patients have come to expect. They want to blame the State for these cuts, but actually this was a decision made by a wealthy corporation to let its employees at the bedside take the brunt rather than cutting executive salaries or accepting a slightly smaller margin. 
 
Nevertheless, the decision has been made and the harm from these cuts is already clear. 
 
“When you reduce the number of nurses and other health professionals, whether by attrition or layoffs, you put patient care at risk,” said Melodie Peters, President of AFT Connecticut. “It is unfortunate and infuriating that WCHN chose this path.”
 
AFT Connecticut, the largest representative of acute care hospital workers in the state, represents the approximately 400 registered nurses at Danbury Hospital Follow the union on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct
 
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