Greater than 400 nurses at a Connecticut hospital started a two-day strike Tuesday over what union leaders referred to as low wages and struggles to get sufficient private protecting tools.
Dozens of nurses hit the picket line outdoors the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich in wet climate and held indicators saying “Nurses on strike for unfair labor apply” and “PPE over income.”
The strike comes amid a breakdown in contract talks between the nurses’ union and hospital administration, in addition to rising coronavirus instances in Norwich and different japanese Connecticut communities.
The Backus Federation of Nurses, AFT Native 5149, and hospital administration have been in contract negotiations since June. Unionized nurses voted to authorize a strike final month.
Donna Handley, president of Backus and Windham hospitals, mentioned in an announcement that Backus will stay open and referred to as the strike “heartbreaking.” She mentioned nurses have been provided “important” wage will increase — 12.5% over three years — together with extra paid break day and a 2% lower in well being care premiums.
“The hospital has made each effort to keep away from a strike,” mentioned Handley, who’s a nurse herself. “We’re ready to search out frequent floor, and we wish to attain settlement on a good contract. The union, sadly, is ready to strike, inflicting an unprecedented diploma of disruption throughout an unprecedented well being disaster.”
Sherri Dayton, a nurse and president of the Backus Federation of Nurses, AFT Native 5149, mentioned Backus nurses have been paid lower than these at different space hospitals for years and haven’t had enough private protecting tools throughout the pandemic. Nurses, like many across the nation, are having to reuse N95 masks repeatedly, she advised The Related Press earlier this month.
“You utilize it till it is dirty or compromised they usually really want to alter the coverage to, you actually needn’t use it longer than eight hours,” she mentioned.
She mentioned in latest months, 11 employees on one flooring of Backus have been contaminated with the coronavirus by a affected person from an area nursing dwelling, three extra staff within the crucial care unit have been contaminated and one other employee examined constructive after caring for a affected person within the emergency room.
“Numerous nurses are scared,” Dayton mentioned, “and the explanation for that’s, is as a result of once they check constructive, we get blamed by the hospital.”
Southeastern Connecticut had a comparatively low an infection charge throughout the early months of the pandemic. However in latest weeks, there’s been an uptick in instances. On Monday, state and native officers urged residents of the area to get examined for COVID-19 and watch out round pals, members of the family and associates.