12/17/2010

Connecticut Nurses Union Approves First Contract

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Exactly one year after they voted to form a union, the nurses at Rockville General Hospital in Vernon, Conn., unanimously approved their first contract with Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) on Dec. 16.

"We have worked hard to get to this point," says Lynn DeYoung, a registered nurse at the hospital.

The nurses began organizing in early 2009 and had an initial union vote in May 2009. They lost that election by one vote, but AFT Connecticut challenged aspects of the election, and the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a new election should be held. The second election took place on Dec. 16, 2009, with the nurses voting overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing. (See earlier story.)

"It's been a long process, but we made it, and we are happy to be part of a great union," says Sharon Thompson, RN.

"Having a contract gives the nurses a voice in the workplace," adds Sharon Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut.

AFT Connecticut is the largest representative of acute care hospital workers in the state. AFT Connecticut also represents the nurses and staff at Manchester Memorial Hospital, which is also operated by ECHN. "We have a good relationship of working with ECHN at Manchester Hospital, and we expect that to continue at Rockville Hospital," Palmer says. [AFT Connecticut]

December 17, 2010