L+M Hospital Workers Still Locked Out As Talks End With No Resolution In Sight

The next talks are scheduled for December 6. The big sticking point remains L+M's decision to relocate certain health services away from the main hospital campus.

The strike is over but workers are now walking the "lock out" line.
The strike is over but workers are now walking the "lock out" line.

Negotiations between Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and AFT healthcare union, which represents nearly 800 nurses and healthcare technicians who staged a strike protesting unfair labor practices last week, ended at 6 p.m. last night with no resolution in sight.  

The union suggested continuing the negotiations but L+M Hospital administrators felt the talks would go too late. The hospital offered to resume negotiations today at 10 a.m. but the union told the labor negotiator its representatives would be unable to meet today. Union leaders are scheduled to go to Hartford today to provide affidavits to the National Labor Relations Board as part of their request for an injunction to end the lockout. 

The next talks are likely to be held December 6. In the meantime, L+M corporation’s lockout of nearly 800 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and healthcare techs and technologists remains in effect. Replacement workers brought in by the hospital are providing patient care under the watchful eye of Connecticut Department of Health monitors. 

Here's How Both Parties Viewed The Negotiations Yesterday

Both sides have a different take on how yesterday's talks went and what the sticking points are. Here's the hospital administrations point of view, released in a press statement by L+M Hospital last night:

"The L+M Hospital negotiating team presented yet another proposal in an attempt to move the needle in discussions with the two bargaining units representing our RNs and LPN/techs.

Unfortunately, the union’s negotiating team was focused on one issue only – the notion of ‘transferring work’ from L+M to any of its affiliates.

On multiple occasions, the Hospital tried to discuss other outstanding issues. The union repeatedly refused to do so – remaining solely focused on one issue and one issue only. There was no willingness at all to discuss any other contractual elements in an effort to make some progress.

We value our employees, and we want them back. We hope to soon reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides and allows that to happen. In order to do so, we need productive dialogue and a willingness to negotiate."

Here's the AFT's point of view, released in a press statement from union spokesman Matt O'Connor yesterday: 

"LMC’s latest counterproposal on the patient care issues at the heart of this dispute demonstrates their intention to so dramatically change our community hospital that it will no longer be recognizable to the people of the greater New London region. Their representatives actually said they intend to let the hospital get “out of the business” of delivering certain vital health services.

Our concern is that the corporation is trying to peel away profitable services and move them away from our community hospital, leaving it to wither away. We have always said we are fighting for quality patient care. This is a proposal we cannot accept and a direction the community would certainly reject.  

Every day that the corporation’s lockout drags on, they deny the community the level of quality patient care they need and deserve. Additionally, the corporation’s reps insisted on keeping negotiations closed to our negotiating committee and excluding the rest of our membership.

It’s bad enough that they locked the nurses and techs out of the hospital; now they’re trying to lock them out of negotiations."
Mike Bentencourt December 04, 2013 at 11:51 AM
The picture is clear the union thugs keep changing their position. If the hospital was to offer a contract with job security and insufficient raises or no raises the union thugs would turn that down and change their tune yet again. It is holiday time and the nurses are taking a big financial hit. How long will they stay out? Even if they get unemployment compensation it will be a fraction of their $100K average at the hospital. The hospital is holding all the cards right now. The hospital wanted to be back at the table this morning and the union had more important things to do other than negotiate a contract for the striking thugs. I found that to be quite interesting.
Daniella Ruiz December 04, 2013 at 03:05 PM
the basic charter of this hospital requires them to deliver certain services. some cannot be 'withered away' or reclassified, renamed or discontinued. were the charter to be breached, the state will step in and do some of its own type of 'negotiations', usuallly leaving all parties in a depleted position and the patients taking the brunt of the beating. this is nothing to do with the 'patients care', it has to do with MONAY!
Jim Uliano December 05, 2013 at 08:49 AM
All Hospitals are turning into the business of profit and loss. They want to cut cost by out sourcing their services, sometimes at a loss for quality care. They want to get rid of higher paid and more experience care givers to new and lower paid staff. Who suffers? The patients. The Union members don't want more money, all they want is a guarantee that their jobs are secure. Many of these workers have been here many years of true devotion and caring for their patients and are fearful of losing their job due to budget cuts.
William Desmond December 05, 2013 at 10:35 AM
Jim, Will they give up raises for job security? I doubt it!


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