Senator Presses Hospital Owner to Take into Account Unprecedented Pandemic Nurses are Navigating; New Contract Must Honor the Dignity of Nurses’ Work with Salaries Comparable to Similar Rural Hospitals
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2020) – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today wrote a letter to Prime Healthcare President and CEO, Prem Reddy, to urge the company to negotiate in good faith with the nurses’ union at East Liverpool City Hospital. In his letter, Brown points to the additional challenges that hospital leadership and the nurses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic and asks Prime Healthcare to come together with the hospital nurses to reach an agreement that best serves the workers, patients, and the community.
“Having met with the different sides during many negotiations between employers and workers during my time in office, I recognize that it is a tense, often frustrating process. I urge you to come back to the table and work in good faith with East Liverpool City Hospital nurses to come to an agreement that best serves workers, patients and the community,” Brown wrote. “Nurses are essential to your ability to fulfill your mission. They are compassionate and skilled professionals who work long hours doing all-too-often thankless, but critical work. They are the face and the heart of the East Liverpool City Hospital system, often the primary workers providing comfort and care to patients and families who rely on your hospital during some of their most difficult times. Right now, it is critical that we reach a workable solution to protect the community of East Liverpool from any additional disruption in the middle of a global pandemic.”
A copy of the letter appears here and below:
November 16, 2020
Prem Reddy, M.D, FACC, FCCP
Chairman, President and CEO
3480 E. Guasti Road
Ontario, CA 91761
Dear Mr. Reddy:
I write regarding the threat of a potential strike at East Liverpool City Hospital, and to urge you to continue to negotiate in good faith until you reach a fair compromise that benefits the workers, your patients, and the community.
As you know, nurses are essential to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. They are compassionate professionals who work long hours doing critical, but all-too-often thankless, work. We cannot effectively manage the spread of COVID-19 or provide quality care for the increasing number of Ohioans who require hospitalization as a result of the virus without a robust, well-supported nursing workforce. I urge both parties to continue working hard to find a resolution that allows the nursing staff and East Liverpool City Hospital to fulfill their mission of providing the best possible health care to our community.
Having met with the different sides during many negotiations between employers and workers during my time in office, I recognize that these negotiations can be a tense and frustrating process. I know that hospital leadership and employees share the same priority: protecting patient safety and ensuring the highest quality of care. I also know that hospital leadership and the nurses are facing additional challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that both sides understand the urgency of the current situation, since you both agreed to extend the contract after it expired at the end of May. It is important to remember that we all share the same goals, and that all parties involved must do everything possible to reach a workable solution that protects the community of East Liverpool from additional disruption in the middle of a global pandemic.
Nurses are essential workers, and now more than ever, we must ensure their voices are heard at the bargaining table and they are empowered in the workplace. A new contract must take into account the unprecedented conditions everyone is navigating to provide care to the community during this pandemic, and must honor the dignity of nurses’ work with salaries comparable to similar rural hospitals. It is time for Prime Healthcare and East Liverpool City Hospital nurses to come together and reach an agreement that best serves workers, patients, and the community.
Please don’t hesitate to call on me if I can be of assistance.