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AFL-CIO resolution addresses hospital workers' concerns

Mashantucket - Delegates to the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention this week applauded union leaders for fighting what they consider to be the unfair tactics of health management corporations and adopted a resolution that seeks to address critical issues faced by hospital workers and the patients they serve.

"I am proud of my union sisters and brothers for taking a stand for fairness, justice and equity in our state's hospitals," said Melodie Peters, a licensed practical nurse and president of AFT Connecticut, a 29,000-member federation of teachers, nurses and health care workers, according to a union press release. "They have committed to reverse disturbing trends in the healthcare industry that jeopardize access to quality patient care and infringe on workers' civil rights."

Delegates elected Peters to a four-year term as the AFL-CIO's executive vice president.

AFT Connecticut and its member unions representing caregivers and health care workers at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital submitted the resolution for consideration. It seeks to reverse inequities in employment, governing and procurement among the state's hospitals. A principal component is educating the community on the "Economic Reciprocity Initiative Healthcare Survey Report" prepared by the state conference of the NAACP.

"We deserve better from our community hospitals," said Stephanie Johnson, a sleep lab technician at L+M., according to the press release. "They have a responsibility as nonprofit institutions and providers of essential services to reflect the communities they serve. That's why we adopted language for the contract we are negotiating right now to support the NAACP's initiative. We want more people of color, just like myself, to provide our community with quality care and services."

Johnson is president of AFT Local 5051, which represents approximately 250 LPNs and technicians at L+M.

According to the release, the resolution also addresses efforts by Johnson and her co-workers to hold the L+M Corp. accountable for violating federal labor laws in order to boost its profits. The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a hearing Oct. 21 to hear testimony on the unions' charge that the corporation is creating "alter-ego" shell operations.

The AFL-CIO convention was held at MGM Grand at Foxwoods.


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