Northern New York Newspapers
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NNY Living
Sun., May. 24
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Union warned hospital of problems

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The closure of E.J. Noble Hospital Sept. 28 was caused by the hospital leadership’s failure to heed the warnings from the state Department of Health and 1199 Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers East.

In August, the hospital was cited by the Department of Health for severe lab deficiencies in a 31-page document. Union 1199 members expressed concern to management about the lab supervisor who caused these deficiencies; the lab was understaffed and did not have enough supplies. Mary Wilsie, 1199 SEIU administrative organizer, was told that they were addressing the violations. Yet everything in the lab remained the same.

We are saddened that it took the death of a patient — one of our neighbors — and the closing of this facility by the Department of Health to finally cause hospital leadership to take action. Action should have been taken in August to prevent negligence from happening. A family has lost a loved one, 70 employees are out of work, and an entire community is without access to their closest acute care center.

E.J. Noble is not just a place where 1199 represents workers; it is our hometown hospital that our families rely on. We can no longer tolerate the incompetence of a management that does not listen to the people who do the work every day — people who provide quality care in this hospital on a day-to-day basis. Part of having good patient care is having respect for all employees and listening to their concerns.

The members of 1199 SEIU have put together a petition for the community to sign.

Kathy Tucker


The writer is vice president of 1199 SEIU.

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