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Hospital Labor Dispute Ends with Agreement

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CBS Connecticut (con't)

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NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ Union nurses and technicians on Monday approved a new contract with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital after a labor dispute that led to a lockout last fall.

Both parties announced the completed deal, which expires June 30, 2016, after a daylong vote by union members. Terms are retroactive to Nov. 16, 2013.

About 800 members of two AFT Connecticut locals held a four-day strike beginning Nov. 27 and were locked out when they tried to return. The hospital ended the lockout Dec. 19. The parties had announced a tentative deal on Friday.

The hospital and the union said they agreed not to discuss specifics but said the agreement covers issues related to transfer of work from the hospital’s former obstetrics clinic and outpatient psychiatric care to doctors’ office and sets terms of any more transfers during the life of the contract.

The union agreed to withdraw National Labor Relations Board complaints related to the dispute. The agreement also covers principles for the union’s potential organizing at other L+M Healthcare entities in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

“I believe both sides are gratified and encouraged to have this difficult period behind us,” L+M President Bruce Cummings said in a statement. “We respect and value all of our workers, believe we offer a quality working environment and look forward to continuing to provide compassionate high-quality care to patients in our community.”

L+M registered nurse Lisa D’Abrosca, president of one local, said the contracts are “blueprints for our caregivers and hospital administration to change our relationship for the better.”

L+M sleep lab technician Stephanie Johnson, who leads the local representing technical workers, said, “Our patients, their families and our community are the winners here.”

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said after the announcement: “The health care industry will continue to change, but the traditional role of patient caregivers was preserved here and should be preserved going forward. I am grateful to labor and management for coming together for the sake of patients and the community as a whole.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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