WYOMING COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — On Wednesday, employees at Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock, Wyoming County, began a three-day strike to fight for better patient care.
Workers say they want better working conditions and wages, as well as increased investment in the hospital by its owners — a Tennessee-based, for-profit corporation called Community Health Systems.
The hospital’s doctors, nurses and staff have been working without a contract since February 28, 2021.
Tyler Memorial employs 84 union workers, including nurses, medical technologists, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and more — all of which are not currently under contract.
“Through this pandemic, you are the essential frontline workers who showed up to take care of your community,” said Matt Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the union representing the 84 healthcare workers on strike. “You did it without adequate PPE or the staff you needed. You did it in the face of fear, uncertainty, and illness. You did it for your patients, for your Tunkhannock community.”
The employees have filed an unfair labor charge against management for bargaining in bad faith.
State Representatives Maureen Madden (D-Monroe) and Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna) joined those on strike, as well as patients and community supporters.
“The staff at Tyler wants to see our hospital succeed,” said Danielle Adams, a Nutritional Service Technician at Tyler and a member of the bargaining committee. “We want this to be a place we can feel proud of, and a hospital our patients trust to get the care they deserve. We want to come to work and know our rights won’t be violated. And we want a contract that raises the standard of care for Tunkhannock.”
The second day of their three-day strike will continue on Thursday at 7 a.m.