Recently I needed to go to Alta Vista Regional Hospital for health reasons. While there, I experienced just how much the employees of the hospital deserve our praise and support for their work and dedication. Everyone in the Las Vegas/San Miguel community needs and deserves this degree of care and proper medical services. Their diligence, however, is thwarted by the hospital’s corporate owner, Community Health Systems of Tennessee.
Employees in a free and fair election chose to form a union through a true democratic process.The corporation’s refusal to recognize and negotiate with the employees’ union makes no sense. The corporation would still be profitable and the owners would still be rich if they allowed their local administrators to sit down with the union. The National Labor Relations Board has sided with the union every time CHS has challenged its legitimacy.
The staff of Alta Vista are good people who want to do a good job but who are stifled by private corporate greed. CHS has forced out employees who were union sympathizers. It has threatened to do the same to others. It has diminished morale and sapped the workers’ energy. And for what?
Whether or not CHS likes it, Alta Vista Regional Hospital is part of this community. The employees are part of this community — and the community is starting to rally around the workers. Just this week we learned that the doctors at the hospital and in town publicly support the workers and their union.
We need a local hospital, a good hospital. That’s not too much to ask. Let’s tell the workers in our community we appreciate them. Let’s also express our support for the hospital workers and their union by writing to Mr. Wayne Smith, chairman and CEO, Community Health Systems, 4000 Meridian Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067, telephone: (615) 465-7000. Or call Mr. Richard Grogan, the CEO at Alta Vista, 426-3500, to request that CHS negotiate with the union immediately.