Healthcare workers at Windham Hospital may go on strike

Healthcare workers say a strike could be possible at Windham Hospital.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 12:12 AM EDT
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WINDHAM, CT (WFSB) - Healthcare workers say a strike could be possible at Windham Hospital.

The union sent out a statement, saying they are prepared to walk off the job if that’s what it takes.

They are in the middle of contract negotiations at Windham Community Memorial Hospital, and they have been for almost a year.

About 100 nurses are set to strike next week if a decision is not made on their bargaining agreement.

The nurses said patient safety is their top priority and argue that attorneys for Hartford HealthCare refuse to present fair proposals.

Workers also claim management has broken federal workplace laws in the middle of a care crisis and said provoking nurses to strike shows a lack of respect for their patients and employees.

Andrea Riley, the head of the Windham Federation of Nurses Local 5041 says they had their wages frozen with no opportunity for raises. They also say they have been dealing with more patients individually than they should handle.

“Insurance is still going up. Cost of living is insane at the moment right now. We are not really in a good economic place. We are paying a lot at the pump, at the grocery store. It is not aligning where we should be,” says Riley.

Windham Hospital President sent a statement saying they’ve met 42 times with the union and have made continuous concessions to find common ground. They say their offer includes elimination of mandatory overtime and wage increases.

However, this proposal was denied by the union, and Riley says the nurses deserve more and a better health insurance plan.

“Technically you have nurses with 5, 6 years of experience that are getting paid at a 3-year experience or a 2-year experience because of the wage freeze. We are so behind in our wages,” says Riley.

“We must take all appropriate steps to ensure that our patients will continue to have access to the care they need,” said Donna Handley, President of Windham Hospital.

The strike is scheduled for next Thursday through Saturday unless there is an agreement made.