The two sides did meet on Friday and Sunday. Perry stated that the Sunday meeting started at 10 AM and went til almost 8 PM in the evening. She stated that there was a lot of back and forth, and there was some movement during that time but when it came to benefits and compensation, it was a “big no.”
Items that were agreed upon was a PPE proposal where Hartford Health Care agreed to follow CDC guidelines. Perry stated that “this was a long time coming.” Nurses state they were re-using masks and respirators which are designed for a single time use. Nurses state that as time went on, they continued to ask for these items but were told to preserve the ones they had. “Other hospitals weren’t doing that, but we were still asked to do so. It’s a big safety issue for us.”
Items that are not agreed upon is the Nurses PTO proposal, a healthcare proposal, and the wage proposal are the “the big three” stated this on Monday morning. Perry says that “Backus nurses are paid below market value of all the other hospitals in the area and we have had a really hard time retaining nurses. We want to attract nurses and keep nurses.” She went on to say that nurses would come on staff, stay a bit, then leave for a different area hospital where they would be making $7-$10 more per hour. It’s hard to maintain safe staffing when nurses are leaving, especially during the time of Covid-19.
Perry feels that it’s disrespectful that they don’t make what Windham Hospital nurses make.
The strike is not only possible, it’s probable. It won’t only affect Backus Hospital, but also their facilities in Plainfield and Mystic as well.
No new talks are scheduled for Monday.
The entire interview can be watched on SNSN Radio’s Community Events page on Facebook.