Allentown officials knew a staggering number of city firefighters would retire in 2011, it was just a matter of how many.
Fire Chief Robert Scheirer predicted months ago that some 50 firefighters would retire before the union’s contract that contained a generous pension clause was set to expire Dec. 31, echoing a similar mass exodus six years ago in the police department.
Now that the paperwork has settled, city officials say 42 firefighters left in 2011 — nearly one-third of the department usually staffed with about 140 firefighters. That’s by far the most firefighter retirees in one year, second only to the departure of 80 police officers six years ago.
This has become so predictable. Harley-Davidson has used the same strategy again to get what they want from workers. Cut permanent employees; add casual workers and then we will stay put. First York, then Wisconsin, now Missouri. They are cutting 145 union workers and adding 145 casual workers to replace them in order to be competitive in Missouri. And of course “other restructuring moves” are thrown in for good measure.
It was either agree to Harley’s terms or they would shut down the plant in question each time. Seriously, workers are left with no option other than to agree or face a plant closing. Not much or a choice.
Looks like Harley-Davidson is entering round three of the “get what we want” trifecta. First York got the squeeze, then Wisconsin and now Kansas City.
Harley is “reviewing its operations” in Kansas City and has determined they need to make some big changes if they are going to continue operations there in the future. Sound familiar? So unless Kansas City follows York’s and Wisconsin’s lead, they could be losing their jobs. York is being eyed as a possible site to move that manufacturing if Kansas City gets closed. York says capacity is no problem and they would welcome the additional work.
The workforce in York will be reduced by more than 50% till all is said and done.
We’ll have to keep an eye on the situation in Kansas City to see if they fall in line or try to play hardball.
I have been watching this situation unfold and am not surprised it has come to this. CHS has done some good things at PMMC by bringing in more doctors, expanding services and buying new and better equipment. However, their treatment of the staff is poor.
I know a number of staff members at the hospital and attended the Sunnybrook Rally and the Board of Directors Meeting. I feel I have some perspective on this situation as an outside observer. Workers are stressed out and the proposed contract is beyond unfair.
If CHS were struggling financially and needed the workers to make concessions to keep the doors open, I would feel differently. What I see is another corporate giant worried about increasing their bottom line, not the people who work to make PMMC profitable.
Mr. Kirby isn’t making PMMC profitable all by himself. The other 1100 people who work at the hospital contribute to that success as well. There is no I in team!
Tonight’s Board Of Directors Meeting for Pottstown Memorial Medical Center had a larger than normal audience. The meeting was held in a classroom at the Chestmont Professional Building, across from the hospital.
Dozens of hospital workers, union officials and press packed the small room while PMMC CEO John Kirby presented the board with a power point presentation outlining the growth and changes at the hospital.
Dr. Whitaker, Chairman of the Board, allowed comments and questions from the audience regarding the benefit changes being proposed by CHS (the owner of PMMC). One hospital employee passed a petition of support for the union workers to the Board of Directors and asked if anyone would sign it as a show of solidarity to the employees of our community hospital.
John Kirby answered all the questions that were presented. He deferred discussing most talking points due to the ongoing contract negotions process that was already in place.
The meeting was fairly short and we were thanked for our time and interest in attending by Dr. Whitaker. The meeting was adjourned.
There was a brief rally in the parking lot to discuss any impact tonight’s visit may have made on the board.
The contract negotiations are continuing but without much success.
Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas was there to show her support for hospital employees. Doug Pike, Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives 6th Congressional District, was also in attendance to show his support for hospital workers.
I was able to snap a few pictures, despite the darkness, to capture the moment for my readers.
I have been asked to cover a union rally Wednesday at Sunnybrook. PMMC employees are working under an expired but extended contract. Pottstown Memorial Medical Center is Pottstown’s largest employer!
The rally will be held at Sunnybrook – 4 PM this Wednesday. I have no details if the rally is being held inside or outside but I was told by a reliable source that it is being held. I intend to cover this event and report back via the Pottstown Herald and my blog.