The battle between America's middle class and the corporate overclass is on display in New London, where LPNs and techs went on strike at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and were recklessly locked out by the corporation running L&M over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The workers got a huge outpouring of community support at a Patient Care Rally on Nov. 29. As Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano told rally participants, "It may be Black Friday, but it feels like Labor Day!"
AFSCME Local 1303-007 member Vernon Page was among the Council 4 members who came out to show solidarity for the hospital workers who are represented by AFT Locals 5049 and 5051.
Page works for Groton Utilities, a municipally owned and operated utility providing electric and water services to consumers in Southeastern Connecticut. His daughter is one of the locked out L&M workers.
Norwich city workers, represented by AFSCME Local 2422, have maintained a steady and supportive presence on the picket line.
"L&M Corporation has removed experienced union nurses and other health care professionals and has been replacing them with non-union employees who are doing identical work at seriously reduced wages and benefits," said Local 2422 President Angelo Callis. "Once this practice is allowed, it will spread like a weed. None of us are safe unless we are all safe."
Page and Callis have it right. What's happening in New London is part of a larger struggle; it's about standing up for the middle class in everything we do as a union.
You can help by joining the picket line in New London and signing a community petition for L&M hospital workers.