Hospital workers gather to demand concessions in new contract
As America enters year four of the COVID pandemic, many of its hospital workers say they're tired and fed up.
"We've been without a contract since January 9," said Chrissy Lewis with Service Employees International Union District 99.
A group of those workers at East Liverpool City Hospital Friday demanding Prime Healthcare Services, the California Company that owns the hospital, address their concerns.
"They can't fill the positions in this building because the wages are so low," said Lewis, noting that many hospital workers there make as little as $10.10 per hour.
"The workers that are still here are getting offers from everywhere around here, other hospitals, doctor's offices. They can make more going down the street to a gas station," Lewis said. "That's ridiculous."
The workers are also calling for safer workplace conditions and respect on the job.
They tell 21 News they're willing to strike to get those things.
"I'm worried about my workers' safety," said Lewis. "They want us to carry our cell phones when we're on break so they can get ahold of us. That's not a break. They're working them to death."
An all-too-real concern in the workers' minds, as COVID continues to send patients to the hospital and claim lives.
"We need management to understand how important it is that we have a good contract," Lewis insisted.
We reached out to Prime Healthcare Services for comment but haven't heard back.
In the meantime, contract negotiations continue.
The two sides will be back at the bargaining table February 14.