“The overwhelming majority of us support coming together and our future looks much brighter,” said Anna Princiotti, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Danbury hospital. “I know the corporation that runs our community hospitals has big plans and with healthcare workers negotiating alongside the nurses and techs, we can help make sure our patients always come first,” said Princiotti, a New Milford resident with 28 years experience at the acute care facility.
Princiotti’s comments refer to the relationship between the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) and the unions representing the registered nurses (RNs), medical technicians, clinicians and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) at both hospitals. The healthcare workers in early May publicly announced their free choice to unite in AFT Connecticut, the labor federation that includes three local unions representing nearly 1,000 of their colleagues.
“Now is the time for healthcare workers to come together – housekeepers and emergency room techs and unit coordinators,” said Rafael Soto a CNA on the 8th floor of Danbury Hospital’s Tower building. “This hospital works because we do, and it is time for us to have a say in our own future,” said Soto, a Danbury resident with six years of patient care experience at the facility.
Soto’s comments refer to the free and fair democratic process that AFT Connecticut is pursuing in order to assure the legal protected rights of the healthcare workers are upheld. The labor federation on Thursday filed a request for a secret ballot election for the bargaining unit with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the agency’s Hartford regional office. Under new rules governing union elections, the NLRB must schedule a hearing for June 5 on AFT Connecticut’s petition.
“I was proud to stand with the healthcare workers at the town hall meeting,” said RN Mary Consoli, president of the Danbury Nurses Union, Unit 47, AFT Local 5047. “They tried to deliver their message to Mr. DeBarba but he wouldn’t even touch it. It’s a shame these workers are being denied the same level of respect that nurses earned decades ago,” said Consoli.
Consoli’s remarks refer to DeBarba’s refusal at Friday’s town hall event to acknowledge the healthcare workers’ mission statement and his failure to respond to their request to commence negotiations. Management at both Danbury and New Milford Hospitals have for more than a month engaged in coercion, harassment and intimidation designed to suppress their healthcare workers’ protected legal rights. AFT Connecticut has filed multiple unfair labor practice (ULP) charges with the NLRB over illegal conduct by WCHN and the anti-union consulting firm the non-profit network has retained.
AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care health professionals in the state, represents approximately 725 registered nurses and 260 technicians, clinicians and license practical nurses at Danbury and New Milford Hospitals. Follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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