‘We don’t feel like heroes anymore’ – union strike at Tyler Memorial Hospital

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TUNKHANNOCK, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -Bargaining agreements have been sour and a strike is looming at one Wyoming County hospital.

Roughly 80 nurses and specialists are set to be outside as opposed to working in Tyler Memorial Hospital. But why?

Front line workers in hospitals across the commonwealth and the nation have been regarded as heroes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But when it comes to being treated like it, union members with Service Employees International Union – Pennsylvania Healthcare, say that’s not the case at the negotiating table.

Community members on the front line, like Nutritional Service Technician Danielle Adams, have been working on a contract since before the previous one ran out on February 28th and it is hitting a breaking point.

“It hurts, you know? Yeah, we see that sign every day but I can tell you firsthand and from a lot of the accounts of my co-workers we don’t feel like heroes anymore, you know, we don’t get treated as such,” Adams said. “We’re not asking for a lot with our contracts, no we’re asking for fair staffing, you know, to help, you know, hire, we want to be able to retain and recruit staff we’re not asking a lot.”

It’s important to note that a strike set to begin Wednesday and end Saturday is not a reflection of the relations between union workers and the hospital administration, but rather executives with commonwealth health’s parent company, community health systems inc., based out of Tennessee.

We reached out to the hospital for comment and their return statement reads,

The S.E.I.U. Healthcare-Pennsylvania has served a notice of its intent to conduct a 3-day strike, picketing and other concerted refusal to work activity commencing at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 and concluding at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 24th. SEIU represents the professional, technical, service & maintenance and registered nurse bargaining units at the hospital. 

A contingency operations plan will be implemented, in the event the strike does occur, to ensure continuation of quality services.

As always, our top priority is the care and safety of our patients, employees and visitors wherever such activity may occur.

Annmarie Poslock

The picket line is set to start at 7 am and we’ll be keeping you posted with the latest as it happens here over the next couple of days.

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