L+M security officers vote to bring 4th union to hospital

New London - A majority of the 19 security officers at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital voted Tuesday to join the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America.

The union will be the fourth for workers at the hospital. Nurses, technical workers and support staff are represented by three different locals of AFT Connecticut.

Dwayne Phillips, director-at-large in the organizing department at the police and fire professionals union, said the L+M security guards "wanted a voice in their workplace and their issues addressed, and felt the collective bargaining process was the best place to do that."

The union has also been representing security guards at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich for the past few years. An effort to unionize security officers at Electric Boat was voted down Wenesday.

L+M spokesman Mike O'Farrell said the hospital is "looking forward to working with the new union."

"Security staff are an incredibly valuable part of the workforce at L+M, and they play an important part in patient safety," he said. "We'll act in good faith to make sure we have a positive relationship with the group."

Phillips said the vote results will go to the National Labor Relations Board for certification. After about 10 days, he said, a bargaining committee will be formed to begin negotiations toward a contract with the hospital. Main issues for the guards include job security, wages, hours and seniority rules, he said.

j.benson@theday.com

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