Comments on Prioritizing Patient and Caregiver Safety at Backus Hospital
During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Leaders of the Backus Federation of Nurses made the following public remarks regarding their request Friday to postpone negotiations and extend their current union contract:
 
“Our member nurses have always been committed to collaborating with hospital administrators when it comes to mutual goals,” said Backus Federation of Nurses President Sherri Dayton, RN. “During this public health emergency, our number one goal should be ensuring healthcare workers have the tools and resources to care for patients safely and effectively. That’s why we believe ongoing negotiations should be postponed and our current contract be extended,” added Dayton, a registered nurse in the emergency department (ED) at the Norwich acute care facility.
 
Union Vice President Jessica Harris, RN, said, “nurses were very excited to achieve safe staffing and improved working conditions in a new contract. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our bargaining team decided that patient safety should be our shared priority. That’s why we proposed extending our existing contract and postponing talks,” added Harris, also a registered nurse in Backus Hospital’s ED.
 
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The Backus Federation of Nurses, AFT Local 5149, represents approximately 415 registered nurses at the Hartford HealthCare (HHC)-owned William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich and its partner medical facilities. The local union is a leading force for assuring quality, affordable care for their community and demanding a health system for the nation that puts patients before profits.