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Comments on Backus Hospital Nurses' Call for Safety Strike if Hartford HealthCare Refuses Settlement

Backus Federation of Nurses leaders and activists made the following public remarks regarding yesterday's membership vote to authorize the action in response to health network’s unfair labor practices:
“Hospital management and the network’s executives are negotiating in bad faith,” said Backus Federation of Nurses President Sherri Dayton, RN. “Not only have they cut back on pandemic sick pay, they’ve even retaliated against a member for raising safety concerns. That’s not how health industry leaders who value safe patient care should behave,” added Dayton, a registered nurse in the William W. Backus Hospital’s emergency department (ED).
Union Vice President Jessica Harris, RN, said, “hundreds of nurses walking off the job is not inevitable. The community expects Backus management and Hartford HealthCare’s executives to take these issues seriously and settle our safety concerns. That’s why our members voted overwhelmingly for an unfair labor practice strike if they refuse,” added Harris, also a registered nurse in Backus Hospital’s ED.\
“As nurses, we take our roles as patient advocates seriously," said “strike captain” Mary Dipietro, RN. “Our contract proposals aren’t just about us as employees. Safe patient limits, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and investing in retaining skilled nurses are vital for our community, too,” added Dipietro, a resource nurse at the Norwich acute care facility.
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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.

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