• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

From Heroes to zeroes: Cook County Well being workers


May 26, 2023

About one hundred Cook County Well being workers and their supporters rallied outdoors Stroger Hospital on Friday, accusing the county of “turning their backs” on them by filling vacant positions with private contract workers who normally are not up to the job.

“The morale has under no circumstances been decrease. … We are quick-staffed and overworked,” mentioned Veronica Williams, a Stroger Hospital surgical technologist, standing in front of her workplace Friday.

She mentioned contract workers are “Band-Aids on a challenge that is only receiving worse. Quite a few of the agency employees supplied to the hospital are just inexperienced and lack expertise and implies to conduct top quality care.”

Cook County Well being officials couldn’t promptly be reached for comment.

SEIU Neighborhood 73, the union that represents about two,one hundred county overall health program workers, says the county has spent about $500 million on contract workers due to the fact 2018 — to make up for employees shortages, a nationwide challenge.

“An agency-heavy workforce lowers the top quality of care to county individuals and requires away steady union jobs,” mentioned Dian Palmer, the union president.

Short-term contract workers at the moment fill about 600 county overall health care jobs, Palmer mentioned.

“They do not know the hospital. They do not know the policy and procedures. They do not even know their way about and our members have to assistance them do their job,” Palmer mentioned.

As an alternative, Palmer mentioned, the county should really be filling these positions with union workers and providing them a retention bonus. So far, Palmer mentioned, the county has come to the table with “regressive proposals.”

“The county provides workers crumbs,” she mentioned. “The county calls you heroes, but treats you like zeroes.”

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