The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Northumberland County

March 25, 2014

Sunbury hospital workers talk to union rep

— SUNBURY — A representative of the Service Employee International Union spent time Friday at Sunbury Community Hospital meeting with designated workers about possibly unionizing, according to an employee, who has asked to remain anonymous.

That union rep confirmed Tuesday that “there is interest in organizing.” Beyond that, on orders from SEIU headquarters, she had no further comment. She also asked to remain anonymous.

Calls on Tuesday afternoon to the hospital’s executive suite and to public relations were not returned. The hospital is owned by Community Health Systems, of Franklin, Tenn. Officials there were called and also had no comment.

The Sunbury hospital worker said a “select number of hospital personnel were designated to talk to the SEIU representative.” The union rep was allowed to meet with those designated workers in the cafeteria and a conference room.

Several signs were posted around the hospital, according to the worker, that were described as “upsetting. This has taken everyone by storm, causing chaos in the hospital. This is not needed. It’s putting out a bad vibe.”

One of the signs posted in the hospital read: “The devil’s at your doorstep.”

If at least 30 percent of employees express a desire to join a union, the worker said, a vote of workers would follow to gauge the overall feeling about unionizing.

The SEIU is the largest health care union in North America, with more than 1.1 million members in the field, including nurses, licensed practical nurses, doctors, laboratory technicians, nursing home workers and home care workers.

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