AFSCME Wins Back Pay for Displaced Workers of Bankrupt Philipsburg General Hospital

Nov 30, 2006, 00:00 ET from AFSCME Council 13

    PHILIPSBURG, Pa., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- One-hundred sixty former
 employees of Philipsburg General Hospital, which declared bankruptcy in
 January and closed its doors in April, will have a little extra cash this
 holiday season, thanks to their labor union.
     The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
 (AFSCME) District Council 83, which represents more than 8,000 employees in
 central Pennsylvania, filed several administrative claims in bankruptcy
 court immediately following the closure. The union today received a Court
 Order instructing the hospital to pay nearly $55,000 in "paid time off"
 (vacation, personal, sick, and holiday leave) that was due to the workers.
     "This is a tremendous victory for our members," said Dominic Sgro,
 Director of District Council 83.
     "This order covers leave that employees accrued after the bankruptcy
 claim was filed," said Alaine Williams, Esq. of Willig, Williams &
 Davidson, the union's law firm headquartered in Philadelphia. "All former
 employees should make sure that the hospital and the union are notified of
 address changes, because checks will be sent to their last known address."
     Williams also notes that the union is pursuing approximately $184,000
 for leave time that was accrued before the petition was filed. Such claims,
 called pre-petition claims, have a high priority in bankruptcy court, and
 Williams said the union is "cautiously optimistic" about the result.
     Sgro held a rally and vigil for employees on the night the hospital
 closed, and promised that AFSCME would work to reopen the hospital and get
 their jobs back. "We're negotiating with the new owners right now. We'll
 fight until the end, both in the courts and at the bargaining table."
     AFSCME Council 13 represents more than 65,000 employees of the state
 and its counties, townships, boroughs, cities, school districts and health
 and human service facilities.