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ELCH reiterates commitment to negotiation with employee union

EAST LIVERPOOL — Workers gathered late Thursday afternoon outside East Liverpool City Hospital, calling for hospital officials to bargain with members of an employee union in good faith for a fair contract.

Anthony Caldwell, director of public affairs of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH, said in a press release issued prior to the candlelight vigil, “Workers with the hospital are standing together for a fair contract that allows them to provide quality care in East Liverpool and respects the dignity of their work. All hospital workers deserve respect on the job.”

The union represents more than 200 health care workers, including radiology technicians, nursing assistants, respiratory technicians and licensed practical nurses, at the Prime Healthcare-owned facility.

Rick Perez, director of business development and marketing for East Liverpool City Hospital, disputed the union’s assertion that the company was not dedicated to contract negotiations, which have been going on since late September.

He added, “Our leadership team emphasizes the importance of open and transparent communication and respects the voice of employees. We are fully committed to reaching a fair and equitable solution that will benefit all parties involved and allow East Liverpool City Hospital to continue to provide award winning healthcare to the community and patients we serve.”

Prime Healthcare Foundation had acquired East Liverpool City Hospital in 2016 and invested more than $4.8 million in improvements and equipment upgrades.

The hospital, with more than 500 employees, has been serving the area since 1905.

Union spokesman Caldwell believes that it is crucial that East Liverpool be able to offer good paying jobs with benefits that make the city a better place to live, work and raise a family. “Unfortunately, profit-driven decisions by out-of-state corporations are putting local, family-sustaining jobs at greater risk which could impact quality care,” he concluded.

Prime Healthcare is based out of California.

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