L+M Hospital and union continue talks

Talks between Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and the union representing about 800 nurses and technicians continued into the night on Monday.

Neither side would comment on whether progress had been made.

Negotiating teams began their meetings separately before coming together later in the day.

Hospital spokesman Mike O'Farrell said Monday's talks were are a continuation of the sessions that began at 1 p.m. Saturday and were held again on Sunday.

Matt O'Connor, spokesman for AFT Connecticut, said the union would not be making any statements or comments "until there are significant developments to share."

"Our negotiating committee members expect to keep working toward a mutual resolution," O'Connor said in an email message.

The two sides are negotiating a new three-year contract for nurses and technicians, who have not been on the job since Nov. 27. After a four-day strike, the hospital on Nov. 30 barred workers from returning until there is a new contract, citing a threat of intermittent strikes that the union denies making. Since the strike, the hospital has been staffed with replacement nurses and technicians.

Last week, the hospital announced it would pay bonuses of $1,000 for full-time nurses and technicians and $500 for their part-time colleagues if they ratified the hospital's latest contract offer by 11:59 p.m. Monday. The hospital also pledged to end the lockout if the contract is ratified.

The union rejected the offer shortly after it was announced.

Under the hospital's offer, staff who lost their jobs due to the transfer of non-acute care services to L+M affiliates outside the hospital would be eligible for retraining, severance pay and other benefits. The hospital pledged that no acute care services would be moved out of the main hospital.

j.benson@theday.com

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