- Dear Abby
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As a physician working at L+M Hospital 51 years, I have never witnessed the likes of the disaster unfolding today. I have shared my concerns with colleagues and President and CEO Bruce Cummings. Although not involved with negotiations, I am familiar with the process, having been involved in critical efforts on behalf of the New London Board of Education, the City Council and preservation organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. The elements of a successful process remain honesty, openness, fair play, respect. I do not perceive these elements on either side now.
Fact: Obamacare, coming on the heels of our Great Recession, has created a sinkhole for health care, with the future in doubt for all. Fact: health care professionals work in and expect collegiality. Fact: business people think that a "win-lose" result exists. Fact: union leaders have been encouraged to think labor law includes bargaining for "job security" in addition to "salary and working conditions." Fact: health care professionals have great influence on the decisions of their patients regarding the health services they need and where they seek them.
The way the hospital is dealing with their nurses - and their employed physicians - is akin to eating their seed-corn.
As for the union, the nurses may have chosen their representatives poorly, considering the sad state of another noble profession: teaching.
One thing is certain, this state of affairs will have repercussions for years to come. What a shame.