L+M Hospital unions ratify deal, ending labor dispute

The unions representing health care workers at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London have ratified an agreement with the hospital, ending a lengthy labor dispute that included a strike and a lockout.

The agreement covers nearly 800 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, health technicians and technologists in two AFT Connecticut locals. In a joint statement released Monday, hospital and union leaders praised the new contract and indicated that both sides would work together in the future.

The agreement follows one of the state’s most contentious hospital labor disputes in recent years. After talks broke down in late November, union members went on strike the day before Thanksgiving. Their four-day strike was followed by an 18-day lockout. Union members returned to work while the two sides negotiated, ultimately reaching the tentative deal workers ratified Monday.

The statement released Monday said the parties had “agreed not to share specific details of the agreement,” but said the settlement and new contracts included an agreement on issues related to the transfer of work from hospital facilities to physician offices in the community, a major stumbling block in the talks. The deal covered issues related to past transfers and any that occur during the term of the contract.

The two sides also reached a set of “mutually agreed upon core principals” related to potential union organizing by other employees of L+M Healthcare, which includes the hospital, Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island, L+M Medical Group and the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut.

In addition, matters that had been before the National Labor Relations Board and other actions related to the labor dispute were withdrawn.

The new contract expires June 30, 2016.