By LARRY RINGLER
WARREN - Staffing reductions among Service Employees International Union members at Trumbull Memorial Hospital are raising patient care concerns, union members said Wednesday as they continue to bargain for a new contract.
Service Employees International Union members at Trumbull Memorial Hospital are raising patient care
"We want them to commit to patient quality. If workers are so overworked, where's the quality?" union administrative organizer Mary Ann Hupp said after a rally on the lawn outside the Warren hospital.
With contract talks continuing until April 30 under an extension, hospital management issued a statement that it is committed to "excellent care for our patients.
"As a major employer in this community, we value our employees," it continued. "We strive to provide good working conditions, compensation and benefits."
The union represents about 350 licensed practical nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, patient financial services and other technical and professional workers, Hupp said.
She said the union had about 400 before ValleyCare Health System of Ohio came in after Community Health Systems Inc. bought the hospital and two others, plus satellite operations, from bankrupt Forum Health in October 2010.
Management continues to submit proposals to replace the contract that expired March 31 but terms are only slightly changed, Hupp said.
"We demand that ValleyCare executives work with the employees of this hospital to negotiate a fair contract that provides fair staffing, quality care and protects family-sustaining jobs that are the heart of the Trumbull County economy," the union stated in a news release.
Management said it is "hopeful that both sides will remain focused on these negotiations so that a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached soon."