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Comments on First Ad Addressing Unsafe Conditions at Natchaug Hospital

Leaders of local union representing registered nurses at the facility made the following public remarks on the launch of new video spot scheduled for cable broadcast and social media:

"Chronic understaffing is creating an unsafe environment for our clients and ourselves," said Natchaug Hospital Unions United Vice President Klari Kostas. "Natchaug management will often staff just one nurse for every 11 patients, a ratio that's unheard of in a psychiatric care setting. Families and the community have a right to know about these conditions," added Kostas, an inpatient adult floor psych care nurse at the facility.
Union executive board member Jennifer Pratt, RN, said, "working at a psychiatric hospital means that some of our clients will display violent behavior. Yet management refuses to hire a security guard. Adding insult to injury, they rejected our proposal in contract negotiations to protect nurses hurt on the job from losing pay," added Pratt, an adult unit psychiatric inpatient nurse.
"We have a labor-management 'staffing committee' at Natchaug, but it hasn't been effective at resolving safety issues," said union treasurer Cheryl Armstrong, RN. "That's why we proposed no-cost mediation to ensure collaboration and accountability. Management's rejection shows their lack of good faith in the staffing committee and willful neglect of worksite safety," added Armstrong, a clinical day treatment (CDT) school nurse at the facility.
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Natchaug Hospital Unions United, AFT Local 5052, represents approximately 200 registered nurses, therapists and educators at the Hartford HealthCare (HHC)-owned Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield and its satellite behavioral care facilities. The AFT Connecticut-affiliated local is part of the Hartford HealthCare Organization of Professional Employees (HOPE) coalition.

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