Dean Urges Compromise In Copley Nurses' Strike
Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, May 18, 1998
By DAVID MACE
Times Argus Staff
WATERBURY - Gov. Howard Dean urged striking Copley Hospital nurses and management to tone down their rhetoric and make concessions when they return to the bargaining table Wednesday.
Speaking at an impromptu press conference in Waterbury Monday night, the governor said he had been in touch with both sides in the three-week-old labor dispute and urged them to "stop calling each other bad names in the paper and the media."
"I think both sides would like to settle this," Dean said. "(But) both sides have dug themselves into such deep positions that neither wants to be a loser. And the real loser is the community."
While acknowledging that he cannot become officially engaged in the negotiations - and pointing out that a federal mediator is handling that role Dean said both sides had contacted him recently.
He refused to comment on what they had discussed. But both sides have recently ratcheted up tensions in the strike by engaging in a public relations battle in the press.
Unionized nurses walked off the job April 30, complaining about pay and working conditions. Hospital officials say their offers have been reasonable, but have replaced the 70 strikers with temporary nurses hired through a firm specializing in strike replacements.
Dean expressed hope that the strike could be settled soon before any more damage is done in the community.
"Eventually these nurses that are on strike are going to be back at work at the hospital," he said. "Id like to see it be sooner rather than later."