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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

L&M Hospital bosses renege on their agreement to negotiate

L&M will not negotiate if rank-and-file members are present
By Matt O'Connor

Editor's Note: L&M is also the owner of Westerly Hospital which is NOT directly impacted by this labor dispute. Yet.

Management at L&M Hospital yesterday walked away from  their agreement last week to meet on Tuesday for talks to end their lockout, now in its eighth day. 

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. 

Our negotiating committee members are planning to be at the Best Western Olympic Inn in Groton on Tuesday at 1:00PM as previously agreed to for the resumption of negotiations. We expect a large crowd of their colleagues to be there to witness what we sincerely hope will be a session attended by the corporation's representatives. 

We don't just hope their representatives show up. We hope they are ready to work to reach a mutual resolution on the patient care delivery issues at the heart of this crisis.

In the meantime, we are continuing to assist our members with filing for unemployment insurance with the state labor department. The first hearing on claims is scheduled for Tuesday at the CT Department of Labor’s New London office.

We are also doing all we can to mitigate the hardship of the corporation's decision to cut off healthcare coverage for our members. We have enlisted the federal labor department’s employee benefits security administration to assist with obtaining medical and dental insurance through COBRA.

Meanwhile, the community continues to demonstrate it is solidly behind its hospital’s nurses and techs. Monday morning, local clergy, political leaders, and advocates joined our members for a round table discussion on healthcare access at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church in New London. Monday night, the local Elks Club hosted a pasta dinner that was attended by approximately 350 caregivers and family members.