Hospital employee offers reasons for 1-day strike

To the editor:

I came to work at Geisinger-Lewistown hospital seven and a half years ago because I knew it was a good place to work, but mostly because I like taking care of people.

I work with chemo patients and every day I go to their rooms to bring menus, talk to them, and help pick their meals for the day. Many of them don’t have appetites because of the chemo, so we sit and talk and I encourage them to pick foods they enjoy. I like being able to help them through that process and know it’s an important part of their care.

In caring for my patients, I am caring for my community. That is why it’s infuriating that Geisinger wants to lower wages for healthcare workers. This isn’t something that just affects my co-workers, it is a move that would hurt the future of our community.

Geisinger wants to lower the starting salaries for new employees. That means what were once decent middle class jobs would become lower-wage jobs that would not allow people to support their families, and have them struggling to get by.

Geisinger itself is not struggling at all. They are a multi-million dollar health system that made $300 million last year, and brought in over $3 billion in revenue. Its top five executives make $10 million/year combined.

There is absolutely no reason that such a successful health system needs to lower job standards for an area. When this Goliath bought our local hospital, we expected it to make our community grow. Instead, it’s proposing cuts that will move us backwards.

That is why my co-workers and I went on strike last week. We are holding Geisinger accountable to maintaining good jobs. This is not just about us, this is about our community and the future of Lewistown.

Anne McCalips