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Talks On Hold Between Lawrence + Memorial Hospital And Union

AFT Healthcare Union representatives want discussions to be open. L+M Hospital wants focused talks with union negotiators. The end result is no one is talking.

L+M Hospital
L+M Hospital
Despite the best efforts of a federal labor negotiator and the urging of elected leaders, including Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital officials and AFT health care union leaders didn't hold talks as scheduled on December 10.

Negotiations were canceled late on December 9 because neither side could agree who should be included in the talks. Union leaders representing nearly 800 Lawrence + Memorial RNs and LPN/techs said they felt observers should be allowed to attend. The hospital disagreed. 

"Their representatives had indicated they would not meet again unless talks were "closed," meaning they would be limited to members of our union's negotiating committee. We have been clear on this point. We cannot agree to further disenfranchising our members and allowing the corporation's record of false claims and mischaracterizations of the issues being discussed to continue," said AFT union spokesman Matthew O'Connor in a statement released on Tuesday.

"By taking this position, the union is showing it is more focused on theatrics and grandstanding than it is on negotiating. Given the seriousness of this situation, we are deeply disappointed by this development," L+M said in a statement announcing the cancelation of talks on Monday night. "This position is unlawful, but more importantly, it is unfortunate. The Hospital will be filing an unfair labor practice against the union for its failure to negotiate in good faith."

The session, which would have been the 16th meeting between the two parties, was scheduled to begin Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Best Western Olympic Inn in Groton. The AFT's negotiating team showed up at the venue with supporters in tow, the union said, prepared to talk if L+M Hospital should have a change of heart, but no one from the hospital turned out. 

"We want our employees back, but without a willingness to negotiate at such a critical time, that will, unfortunately, be delayed until the union is ready to resume focused discussions," L+M stated. 

The union responded with an open letter printed in the New London Day addressed to the hospital's board of directors, urging them to take action. 

"It is imperative that the board get their CEO and hospital managers to end the lockout, return these caregivers to their patients' bedside, and restore the community's trust in their community hospital," O'Connor stated. 

As the lockout enters its 10th day, the union is working to assist the nurses and health care technicians with filing unemployment claims and obtaining medical and dental insurance through COBRA. 

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