dozen of The William W. Backus Hospital?s off-duty nurses tried on Monday to
hand a letter to hospital President and Chief Executive Officer David Whitehead
requesting for voluntary acknowledgment of an AFT Connecticut union local to
represent the 480 registered nurses of the hospital.
Eric Bailey, AFT spokesman, said Whitehead?s office staff told the group of
nurses that he, Whitehead, was not available and refused to receive the letter
in behalf of their boss. The letter ? signed by 28 nurses ? was placed on a
chair in the office by the nurses and requested it be handed to Whitehead or at
least he be told they left the letter there, Bailey narrated. They also
requested for a meeting with Whitehead at another time.
Backus spokesman, Shawn Mawhiney, claimed the hospital ?respectfully
declined to recognize the letter.?
Bailey explained, if Whitehead were to come to terms to the request in the
letter, the hospital could right away start negotiating a contract with the
nurses and a formal union election would not have to transpire. Now, a majority
of the registered nurses have signed cards declaring that they back having a
union, he added.
Bailey warned that unless the hospital were to agree to the voluntary
recognition of the union, the cards will be presented to the National Labor
Relations Board when the union submits paperwork requesting a union recognition
vote come to pass.
Mawhiney, on the other hand, explained the hospital
favors that nurses have the option to vote on the union in a secret ballot
Mawhiney added that they will pursue the dialogue with all of their nurses
on the value of preserving a union free Backus. "Our administration and
CEO are always open to talking about the hospital with any employee who comes
According to Bailey, he assumes that he would be able to pass the paperwork
for the union vote in about a week, and approximately two months after that ?
an election would transpire. The majority of the state?s unionized hospital
workers are represented by AFT Connecticut, including those at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital
in New London.