SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Several hundred Lackawanna County healthcare workers say they want a new contract and are willing to hit the picket lines if they don’t get it.
They’re looking for a better wages, improved health care benefits, and a better effort to retain workers.
In a press conference outside Regional Hospital in Scranton, 98% of unionized workers voted to send a strike notice. They believe Community Health Systems is not addressing the needs of their workforce.
Standing outside the Regional Hospital, on Wednesday, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti, hospital employees, advocates, and members of the SEIU healthcare union took a stand to fight for a new contract. The current contract with Regional Hospital expired last Saturday.
“It’s time to put people before profit and that starts with the people who run this hospital,” said union negotiator and medical lab technologist Susan Wiggins.
Workers say they’re ready to strike but want to continue to bargain with CHS.
“We are prepared to strike to protect our patients and this essential community institution,” Wiggins explained.
“When you have people who are making less than 15 dollars an hour willing to strike and lose, lose their pay I think it says a lot,” said registered nurse Erin Sillner.
In that new contract, among other negotiations that workers are fighting for is a significant investment in the workforce, affordable health care, and contractual protection.
We are in the midst of good faith negotiations with the Service Employees International Union Pennsylvania toward a mutually acceptable successor agreement. Negotiations are ongoing and we remain committed to the collective bargaining process.Regional Hospital Scranton
“We stand with you here in Scranton, we need you all desperately to stay in your jobs,” Cognetti said.