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L+M Hospital And AFT Union Agree To Renew Negotiations

The talks are set for Monday, Dec. 16, which is the deadline the hospital gave for the union to vote on what it described as its "last, best offer."

AFT Union leaders (from left) Stephanie D. Johnson, Lisa J. D'Abrosca, Greg Kotecki, and AFT Spokesman Matt O'Connor
AFT Union leaders (from left) Stephanie D. Johnson, Lisa J. D'Abrosca, Greg Kotecki, and AFT Spokesman Matt O'Connor
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital administrators and representatives of AFT healthcare workers union announced Friday they will return to negotiations on Monday, Dec. 16.

The federal mediator facilitating the talks between L+M Hospital administrators and the bargaining units representing nearly 800 RNs, LPNs and healthcare technicians has called both sides together for a 1 p.m. session on December 16. That was the deadline L+M Hospital gave the union to vote on a proposal it presented this week that it said would be its "last, best, and final offer."  

"The Hospital looks forward to the opportunity for a productive session that results in an agreeable contract and the return of our employees," L+M said in a short statement released on Friday. 

In a slightly lengthier statement, the union noted it had reached a compromise with hospital administrators that will meet the AFT's request that talks be "open" to all of its members.

"We reached agreement on a proposal that our full membership be allowed to sit in with our negotiating committee," AFT Spokesman Matt O'Connor said. "In place of direct discussions with the administration, the federal mediator will facilitate a "shuttle diplomacy" approach to exchanging proposals and counterproposals between both sides. This will allow for nurses and techs not on the committee to gain firsthand information, have their questions answered, and bear witness to this critically important process."

A resolution can't come too soon for the hospital, health care workers, and patients served by L+M. The lockout that followed AFT members' four-day strike entered its 13th day on December 13, leaving nearly 800 hospital employees without pay and benefits and the hospital running at less than maximum capacity for services with replacement workers providing patient care. 

"We are hopeful that we can reach a mutual settlement on the transfer of services that assures community access to quality care and that is provided by skilled professionals," O'Connor said.  

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