Nurses and technicians have returned to work at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital two days after the hospital announced it would end the lockout against them. This came after a three-month negotiation to reach a new contract agreement failed.
Around 800 employees went on strike on Nov. 27, accusing the New London hospital of laying off union workers and shifting work from Lawrence and Memorial to shell corporations that operate clinics outside of the hospital setting.
The strike lasted four days, but hospital administrators locked out striking workers, with the stipulation they would not be allowed to return to work until the union agreed to a new contract.
That changed on Tuesday night when marathon negotiations failed and the hospital and the union could not reach a mutual agreement on a new contract.
Now they are back at work.
"I made the decision to have the Hospital unilaterally lift the lockout of our RNs and LPN/techs effective at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, December 19," Bruce Cummings, president and CEO of Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, said earlier this week. "We want our staff back doing what they do best and for which they are so needed: caring for patients and serving the community."
Lawrence and Memorial offered the union a last contract offer on Sunday and Cummings said he hopes the union membership will vote to ratify it. Until the, the hospital will abide by the terms of the prior contract, he said.
"In the absence of a definitive new contract, we believe the decision to unilaterally lift the lockout and warmly welcome all staff back is the best gesture we can make during this holiday season both for those who left, as well as those who remained." Cummings said.