More than 330 nurses at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, Pa., voted to unionize shortly after Prospect Medical Holdings acquired the hospital last week. Prospect also picked up four other hospitals that are part of the Crozer-Keystone Health System.
The nurses join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, a union that already represents 650 nurses and paramedics at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Crum Lynne, Pa.
The 334 nurses voted to unionize this weekend, claiming that the union-represented employees at Crozer-Chester experienced better wages and health benefits compared to them, said Bill Cruice, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.
“Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Crozer managers weren't listening to us regarding our concerns about staffing and other working conditions,” Angela Neopolitano, a nurse for 34 years at Delaware County, said in a press release. “When they decided to sell the health system to a for-profit company, we became very concerned that we would have no voice in the process.”
Crozer spokesman Grant Gegwich said in a statement that the system does not “believe a union is in the best interest of (the hospital), its nurses or the community. However, we respect the right of employees to choose union representation.”
Gegwich said Crozer will meet with the union to negotiate a "fair" contract for nurses.
Under terms of the acquisition, Prospect, a for-profit health system based in Los Angeles, agreed to offer jobs to all Crozer employees and honor labor agreements.
Cruice said he is hopeful Prospect will respect employees' union rights when the acquisition takes effect, which will likely be in June.