Remarks by Kerry Abbott
UE Local 254 •
December 9, 2002
My name is Kerry Abbott and I am a Licensed Nurses Aide and Unit Secretary at Berlin Health and Rehab, a for-profit
facility owned by a Canadian corporation called CPL-REIT.
In the summer of 1999 a majority of the LNA’s, Unit Secretaries, Kitchen, Daycare and Maintenance workers at Berlin
Health and Rehab joined the UE because of chronic understaffing, poverty wages and to protect our benefits.
Instead of recognizing our majority, the corporate bosses in Connecticut and Canada hired the notorious unionbusting law
firm of Jackson-Lewis to try to prevent us from winning our union election and then to try and prevent our winning a first contract.
I am happy to report that even though CPL-REIT is estimated to have spent a half of a million dollars of our health care
dollars and committed numerous unfair labor practices, we are still here and negotiating our second union contract.
One of the key reasons we organized our union is to address chronic short-staffing and improve patient care. When our
friends and family need hospital or nursing home care it is the nursing and support staff that makes sure they are cared for. It is
important for the health of all Vermonters that we are organized and able to speak out for better care.
The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems should have the same goals. It is just plain wrong that they are
sponsoring a forum with Jackson Lewis to try to keep other groups of employees like us from exercising our democratic right to form a
union. We urge legislators to stop our health care management from spending our money on anti-democratic unionbusting and we call on the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems to drop its sponsorship of this Jackson Lewis