A leader of a union representing many employees at E.J. Noble Hospital says the reorganization of the hospital into Gouverneur Hospital will, in effect, break the union.
That's despite assurances Wednesday that the reorganization is not an attempt at union-busting.
"We've already been told that there will be no contract and, essentially, there will be no union," said Kathy Tucker of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199.
The hospital's current workers will have to reapply for their jobs, Canton-Potsdam Hospital officials said Wednesday. CPH took over management of E.J. Noble earlier this year.
"This is not in any fashion an attempt to not have a unionized workforce," CPH CEO David Acker said Wednesday. 7 News is reaching out to CPH Thursday for clarification.
Tucker said even though she's been told there will be no union, "if the employer hires 50 percent plus one of the workforce, then they do have an obligation under the law to bargain with the union."
Even then, she said, "that means starting over for everybody,"
"It's morally wrong, what they're doing," Tucker said, "all to have E.J. Noble end up as a band-aid station? This is not going to be a full-service hospital for the community. I don't believe that."
"There's no reason to make these people reapply and to take away all their seniority, all their benefits, everything that they have earned and fought for for 20, 30, 40 years."
"I just think it's really appalling," she said.
Tucker said her union and the New York State Nurses Association are planning a rally in front of the hospital on Monday.
"We're not going to just sit back and take it, I guarantee that," she said.
"We hope that the community comes out and joins us in support of the workers," Tucker said.
"The community needs that hospital and those workers need those jobs," she said.
"They are very poor people, by and large, that work at E. J. Noble and a lot of those workers hold two and three jobs and are barely making it. And, now, to do this to them? Shame on that board, is all I can say."
Tucker said the E.J. Noble board is mostly made up of members of the Gouverneur community.
"I wonder how they can walk down the street and face people that work there or worked there after what they have done."
The union will hold a rally in front of EJ Noble on Monday, September 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, September 25, 2016, Watertown, NY
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