Backus Hospital nurses set Oct. 13 strike date

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Nurses at Hartford HealthCare's Backus Hospital in Norwich, Conn., have issued a strike notice for Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, according to the union that represents them.

Backus Federation of Nurses, AFT Local 5149 tweeted that nurses issued the strike notice Oct. 2, citing their desire for safe patient care and the ability to recruit and retain the best nurses. Glennie Poletti, RN, told The Bulletin nurses seek improved benefits as well as better access to personal protective equipment and pay comparable to Hartford HealthCare's Windham Hospital in Willimantic, Conn., which they say would result in better nurse retention. But the union contends the hospital has failed to bargain for a fair contract.

"We'd rather be at the bedside caring for our patients and hope a mutual resolution can be reached; but we cannot allow unfair labor practices to stand," union president Sherri Dayton, RN, said in a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review. "That's why we marched on Hartford HeathCare's executives to announce that we're on strike if a settlement is not reached by Oct. 13.

"We're not backing down when it comes to protecting safe patient care; the future of our community's hospital is on the line."

Contract negotiations began in January, and both parties have met at the bargaining table 19 times. Nurses authorized a strike in September.

In a video statement, Backus Hospital President Donna Handley, RN, expressed disappointment about the setting of a strike date. 

"I am a nurse. I have been a nurse for 41 years. I have spent my whole career caring for patients and my community. And the community needs us now more than ever with the increasing COVID-19 cases. This is a time to join together in the fight against COVID," Ms. Handley said.

Ms. Handley said the hospital has tried to avoid a strike and will continue to work with the union to reach a deal. She said the hospital will remain open if there is a strike and she said the hospital is safe and prepared to take care of patients.  

 

 

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