SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Local healthcare workers joined forces with the community Thursday evening as they stood in solidarity to fight for a new contract.
Regional Hospital of Scranton staff and community members came out to support the workers with speeches and a candle-lit vigil.
The employees have been in negotiations with the owners of Regional for months and hoped the community’s support could help.
Following months of failed negotiations, Regional Hospital employees of Scranton wanted to make a statement with community support. They’re hoping this candlelight rally does the job.
“The issues that we currently have at Regional Hospital did not happen overnight. People like me who have worked for Regional Hospital for decades do not even make 15 dollars an hour,” said Dawn Kramer of materials management for Regional Hospital of Scranton.
The workers have been at the negotiating table with CHS, the owner of Regional, since the summer, they claim CHS promised to make an $80,000,000 investment in the Scranton community, but have not stuck to their word.
“We decided that it is time to come out to the community, explain what the situation is, and hopefully come to some kind of agreement so we can move forward in these negotiations,” Regional Hospital of Scranton registered medical technologist Paula West.
Regional employees are also fighting for better pay, asking for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Senator Marty Flynn took the stage in support of the healthcare workers.
“We have to start by fixing it by making you all get a living and fair wage,” said Senator Flynn.
Many employees like Corinne Cianfichi, occupational therapist for the Regional Hospital of Scranton, have worked here for decades and appreciate the support from the community.
“They think we are doing the right thing and they want us to stand up for them. It’s really important to have everybody involved and show the hospital that we really want more,” Cianfichi explained.
Cianfichi believes this demonstration proves their fighting for not only better working conditions but also their community.
“My three children were born here, I met my husband here, this hospital is everything to me. This has been me, I grew up here,” Cianfichi added.
“We’re here for our patients, our patients safety, and to work under the best conditions,” West said.
Regional employees say their next step is to get back to the negotiating table.