After months of intense negotiations, nurses and service workers at Regional Hospital of Scranton have a new contract with Community Health Systems. The contract guarantees that the nearly 1,000-members at RHS will continue to have a strong voice in staffing, as well as protections against layoffs and outsourcing, wage increases, and a freeze on benefit costs.
The new contract also imposes a limit to protect employees and patients from too many staff being sent home on “low census days”. This guarantees that there will be enough staff at the hospital to respond to the needs of the patients and any emergencies that may arise.
“Only by sticking together and staying strong were we able to get this done,” said RN Cathy Gray, a member of the bargaining team.
Regional Hospital of Scranton was formerly the Mercy Hospital of Scranton until it was purchased earlier this year by Community Health Systems, the nation’s largest publicly traded hospital company. Since the sale was announced, members at RHS were determined to make sure Scranton residents would continue to receive the quality care they had come to expect from their hospital.
“This has been a year of big changes at our hospital, from the change in ownership to a new name for our hospital. But we were determined to make sure that our core mission did not change: Providing quality health care and good jobs at our hospital,” said Gray.
Negotiations over the new contract began in August. In October, members held a 300 person rally and a day of informational picketing to make it clear to CHS that workers and the community were united.
“We worked very hard to hold CHS accountable and settle a fair contract that continues to provide for the best possible care and middle-class jobs to this community. Scranton deserves nothing less.”