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Nurses' union notifies Backus Hospital of intent to strike

Over 400 nurses could stage a 2-day strike next week if a contract agreement isn't reached.
Credit: Backus Federation of Nurses
NORWICH - Members of the Backus Federation of Nurses assembled before delivering a strike notice to Backus Hospital administrators. (Contributed photo)

NORWICH, Conn. — Over 400 nurses from the William W. Backus Hospital may go on strike next week.

The union, Backus Federation of Nurses claimed their rights have been violated under the National Labor Relations Act.

Negotiations started in June when issues surrounding contract negotiations between the hospital and union ensued. There were concerns about pay, staff retention, and benefits.

The union held a march Friday to deliver their notice to strike, and get their message out.

FOX61 spoke to the vice president of the union who said it has been a frustrating year for them and the pandemic has not made it any easier.

"We didn't get here by ourselves. this was something that has been led up to by the response that we received from the hospital. like i said, our proposals had many proposals in there that weren't not about economics, that it was respect for nurses and safety for nurses and all of those proposals were rejected by the hospital. they didn't make any significant movement until after they called for a strike vote," said Jessica Harris, vice president of the union.

The president of Backus Hospital, Donna Handley responded to the strike in a video and called it "deeply disappointing."

"I believe in my heart that we have done everything to avoid a strike. We will work around the clock to reach an agreement. We have met 19 times. but here is my pledge to you - Backus Hospital will remain open," said Handley.

Harris said if a contract agreement is not reached, they will go on strike October 13th at 7 a.m. until October 15th at 7 a.m.