From Heroes to zeroes: Cook County Wellness workers

About one hundred Cook County Wellness 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 usually are not up to the job.

“The morale has by no means been reduce. … 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 difficulty that is only obtaining worse. Quite a few of the agency employees supplied to the hospital are merely inexperienced and lack information and suggests to conduct high quality care.”

Cook County Wellness officials couldn’t quickly be reached for comment.

SEIU Regional 73, the union that represents about two,one hundred county wellness program workers, says the county has spent about $500 million on contract workers considering that 2018 — to make up for employees shortages, a nationwide difficulty.

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

Short-term contract workers at present fill about 600 county wellness 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.

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

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