Democratic lawmakers support nurses at Backus

Norwich - Ten Democratic state lawmakers have signed a statement supporting nurses at The William W. Backus Hospital in their efforts to unionize and calling on the hospital "to refrain from any illegal or unethical conduct against its employees."

The hospital's 450 registered nurses will vote May 11 on whether to join AFT Connecticut. The four state senators and six representatives sent the statement to the hospital's board of directors Tuesday, titling it, "an open letter on the importance of neutrality."

"We believe unionization promotes good jobs - good jobs are essential to growing a strong regional economy with stable living standards," the statement reads. "Backus nurses should be free to make their choice about unionization without interference, coercion or intimidation by hospital administration."

Signers of the statement are: Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams of Brooklyn and Sens. Andrea Stillman of Waterford, Edith Prague of Columbia and Andrew Maynard of Stonington.

Also, Reps. Kevin Ryan of Montville, Mae Flexer of Danielson, Tom Reynolds of Ledyard, Elissa Wright of Groton, Elizabeth Ritter of Waterford and Diana Urban of North Stonington.

In response to the statement, Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said the hospital has not stepped outside the law in communicating its position to employees.

"Of course, Backus supports employees' rights to vote for or against a union," he said. "The hospital is exercising its rights to communicate lawfully so employees can make a fair and informed decision."

- Judy Benson

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