IWJ's report stemmed from a fact-finding delegation of religious leaders that visited workers at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc and two other Michigan hospitals. All three facilities are owned by Ascension Health, the largest Catholic non-profit health system in America. IWJ is a national organization that works with religious leaders of various faiths on issues of workers' rights.
Nina Bugbee, President of Teamsters Local 332 in Flint, Mich., represents more than 300 technical employees, emergency technicians and licensed nurses at Ascension's Genesys Regional Medical Center.
"Our members who work as nurses, technicians, paramedics and EMTs at Genesys asked Interfaith Worker Justice to document the harassment and intimidation they started experiencing after this hospital became part of the Ascension corporate system," Bugbee said.. "I am not surprised that IWJ found evidence of the same behavior at all the Ascension hospitals. It's not just Teamster members - we have heard exactly the same stories across the board at several Ascension facilities, from union and non-union workers alike."
Hoffa spoke at the press conference, denouncing Ascension Genesys for its strong-arm tactics and pledging the union's continued support for the members in their struggle to secure a fair contract.
"I want to thank the IWJ delegation for giving these health care workers a voice and for bravely speaking out about the abuses by this corporate health care giant," Hoffa said. "Genesys has walked away from the bargaining table and is refusing to continue negotiating a new contract with our members. The company wants to slash these workers' retirement, demote many of them and cut their wages, and increase their health care co-pays at the same time. This is pure hypocrisy coming from a Catholic institution that claims it lives by a mission of compassion and justice."
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