SCRANTON, PA: Frontline healthcare workers packed a meeting room Tuesday, joined by State Representatives and other local community leaders, to push for quality care and quality jobs at Regional Hospital of Scranton.
“As a nurse, I know the needs of my patients, and I know patient care is improved when we have a voice in decision-making,” said Michel Lipperini, RN “We need to make sure our patients are getting the highest quality care and service possible. They are top priority.”
The 800+ healthcare workers at RHS have been negotiating a new contract since December. They are disappointed and frustrated with the hospital’s latest proposal, which includes management’s right to outsource in all departments.
“Our patients can’t get good care if jobs are being farmed out to the lowest corporate bidder,” said John Fitzpatrick, who has worked in housekeeping since 2011. “Our community deserves better than that.”
Outsourcing can also lead to inadequate staffing, a big concern to workers.
“We need to make sure we have enough staff so that every person who walks through our doors gets the time and attention they deserve,” said Cathy Williams, a medical lab technician. “Whether it’s taking extra time with a patient to answer questions, making sure lab work is done quickly, or rooms are cleaned thoroughly, you have to have enough staff to do the jobs and do them well.”
There is also concern about RHS’s responsibility to be a leader, not just in providing care, but creating good quality jobs.
“RHS is on good financial footing,” said Michel Lipperini, RN. “We look to them and their success and know they have a responsibility to provide Scranton with the good, family-sustaining jobs that keep our economy strong.”
The workers are members of SEIU Healthcare PA and have been negotiating a contract since December. Last week, workers voted to authorize their bargaining committee to send a 10-day strike or picket notice should they not reach an agreement.
They were joined by Pennsylvania Representatives Sid Kavulich, Marty Flynn, and Kevin Haggerty.