Friday, December 1, 2023
HomeHealthcare"Having Our Backs Every Step of the Way" Helps Yield Big Gains

“Having Our Backs Every Step of the Way” Helps Yield Big Gains

It is often said that contractual gains cannot be made at the negotiating table alone; they additionally depend on workplace, community and political collective action. This complete formula is particularly important in order to overcome many historical and structural impediments embedded in many fields and industries. In this collective bargaining report, we’re highlighting a landmark contract victory where by choosing “Union YES,” members helped resolve some of modern healthcare’s biggest challenges.

Registered nurses at Windham Community Memorial Hospital (WCMH) in early December capped a year-long struggle to secure a successor agreement with Hartford HealthCare (HHC), the facility’s owner and operator. Union members voted in favor of a four-year contract made possible through a series of escalating efforts culminating in a strike provoked by chain executives’ federal labor law violations.

“The overwhelming support for this agreement proves what we’ve all seen throughout this pandemic; nurses united can never be divided,” said Windham Federation of Professional Nurses President, Andrea Riley, RN (in photo).

The vote to approve the landmark settlement came nearly three months following union members’ two-day walk-out over numerous unfair labor practices committed by HHC executives and hospital administrators. 

Click here for press reporting on the nurses’ September, 2022 job action.

“The road to get here has not been easy, and we’re grateful to our patients and the entire region for having our backs every step of the way. Now we can focus on what we do best – delivering the great quality care they deserve,” added Riley, a registered nurse in WCMH’s emergency department (ED).

The strike followed informational picketing in June outside the facility by nurses, their technical, service and support colleagues, advocates and elected officials aimed at galvanizing community support. Union members over the summer and into the fall additionally demonstrated at several high profile public events sponsored by HHC in order to further expose executives’ unlawful tactics.

Click here for photos of union members protesting outside the chain’s flagship facility annual fund-raiser.

The activism complemented efforts of the local union’s bargaining team, which was led by AFT Connecticut Field Representative Daniel Durant and national AFT Collective Bargaining Center Deputy Director Kyle Arnone. Together they successfully eliminated mandatory overtime, a dangerous practice that is proven to be detrimental to both patients and caregivers, while retaining the nurses’ rights to volunteer for additional shifts. 

The new contract additionally includes substantial annual wage increases for the full term as well as reductions in employee insurance premium costs. Along with reigning in  mandatory overtime, these gains will go a long way toward achieving safe patient limits at the 130-bed acute care facility by improving nurse recruitment and retention.

The nurses’ new contract was effective upon ratification following their December 2 vote. At the time of publication, the hospital’s technical, service and support colleagues in our affiliated WCMH Employees United were still seeking their own successor contract with HHC.

Click here for a collage of additional photos from the local union’s ratification vote.

Seventeen additional wins at the negotiating table have been announced since our previous quarterly report. Another three are awaiting next steps and will be publicized at our social media platforms once finalized.

Click here for our EastCONN Federation of Teachers’ new contract victory announcement.

Click here for the update on our Colchester Federation of Teachers’ successor collective bargaining agreement.

Click here for our Backus Federation of Nurses’ most recent shift bonus celebration.

Click here for our congratulations to Danbury Nurses Union members on their latest staffing incentive agreement.

Click here for the announcement of our West Hartford Federation of Education Personnel’s recent contract expansion.

Click here for the shout out to therapists in our Natchaug Hospital Unions United on their new contract.

Click here to share a collage celebrating our North Branford Federation of Teachers’ new collective bargaining agreement.

Click here for a collage celebrating our L&M Federation of Registered Professional Nurses’ new collective bargaining agreement.

Click here to share the news of our L&M Federation of Technologists’ collective bargaining victory.

Click here for the announcement of our Meriden Federation of Teachers’ approved new contract.

Click here for the update on our Manchester Tutors Union’s recently approved new unit contract. 

Click here for a photo of our newest Windham Federation of School Nurses’ members ratifying an expanded CBA.

Click here to share kudos to our New Haven Federation of Teachers on their new contract.

Click here for the latest collective bargaining agreement celebration of our Johnson Memorial Hospital RNs’ union. 

Click here to share photos of our Mitchell College Faculty Federation members celebrating their recent contract win.

Click here for a photo from our Meriden Federation of School Secretaries’ CBA ratification meeting. 

Click here for a collage of photos of Newtown Federation of Teachers’ members voting on their new contract. 

Ten local unions are either currently in, or are preparing for, negotiations or arbitration.

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