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Regional Hospital of Scranton Healthcare Workers Picket – Outsourcing, staffing levels top list of concerns

SCRANTON, PA: Regional Hospital of Scranton nurses, aides, techs, housekeepers, and other healthcare workers will picket in front of the hospital on Tuesday, March 19th to fight for the future of healthcare in the community.

“Our patients and the Scranton community deserve a dedicated team of healthcare professionals who can give them the time and attention they deserve,” said Michel Lipperini, RN. “Unfortunately, the hospital wants to make changes that could put that in jeopardy.”

RHS management recently proposed contract changes that would allow for outsourcing in every hospital department.

“So instead of a well-trained, motivated and dedicated team, your healthcare would be farmed out to the lowest corporate bidder,” said John Fitzpatrick, who has worked in housekeeping and transportation. “Do you want someone cleaning your room, or the OR, who doesn’t know how to properly disinfect it, or a revolving door of nurses and aides at your bedside? We know the community wants and deserves better.”

Workers also say RHS has an economic responsibility to the community. The hospital is on good financial footing, and that success should boost the Region.

“We expect one of the largest employers in the area, who is doing well financially, to provide the good jobs our community so desperately needs,” said Michele Uhranowsky, RN. “It is irresponsible for them to hire outsourced workers at low wages. It’s bad for Scranton’s healthcare and Scranton’s economy.”

A lack of competitive wages also puts quality care in jeopardy. “If there is a better paying job down the road, how can we recruit and retain the best healthcare workers?” continued Uhranowsky.

Over 800 healthcare workers at RHS are members of SEIU Healthcare PA. They have been negotiating a new contract since December, but could not reach an agreement by the February 28th deadline. They are now working under the old contract while negotiations continue.

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