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Union to Hold Rally Outside of St. Mary's on Sept. 27

1199-SEIU file a charge against the Bayside hospital on the grounds that the facility did not share its financial records during negotiations.

The union representing St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital will hold a rally in Bayside next week following the group’s recent decision to file an unfair labor practice charge against the facility.

Mark Bergen, vice president of 1199-SEIU, said the union would gather outside the children’s hospital, located at 29-01 216th St., for a rally from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 27 during which workers would call on St. Mary’s to open up its financial records.

Last week, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge against the hospital’s management for refusing to disclose financial records amid contract negotiations.

“They are required to open up their financial records during bargaining, so we’re not bargaining in the dark,” Bergen said. “We know, based on their past financial statements, that they can afford to increase staff supplies for these children.”

The union is contending that St. Mary’s does not have enough staff members and that many of its workers do not have health care coverage or benefits.

“The workers are not seeing the necessary supplies they need for the children,” Bergen said. “Twenty percent of registered nurses at the hospital have left in the past year. And we hear reports of short staffing on a consistent basis.”

St. Mary’s could not immediately be reached for comment.

But a spokeswoman for the hospital recently told the TimesLedger that the facility ended last year with an $8.5 million operating deficit and projected a $5 million deficit for this year.

The spokeswoman also said that the union’s charge that the hospital withheld financial information during negotiations was inaccurate.

Northeast Queens elected officials, including state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, have thrown their support behind the union and called on the hospital to share all of its financial records.

“The workers at St. Mary’s Healthcare System have requested details regarding its financial condition,” Braunstein said. “As a good faith measure in their negotiations, I believe that St. Mary’s should respond to this lawful request in a timely manner.”

Bergen said the union also plans to meet with families of St. Mary’s patients at Bayside’s Ramada Inn on Sept. 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“This is a nonprofit that needs to work at a level of transparency,” Bergen said of the hospital. “We want them to produce these public records.”

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