Immediate Release: September 27, 2017
Contact: Mindy Berman: 518-229-0486

TODAY! Rally at Ellis Hospital
Wednesday, September 27 2 p.m.—4 p.m.
Community Leaders, Elected Officials To Rally With Ellis Hospital Workers

“Ellis, Vociferously Pushing Back on the Workers’ Effort to Join a Union, Pays No Taxes, Low Wages and Gives Little Back in the Form of Community Benefits”

More than 100 are expected at the rally, including neighborhood and community activists, elected officials, clergy, members of several labor unions, leaders and allies. Rally participants will be urging the hospital to pay their fair share in the community and to sign a Fair & Free Elections Code of Conduct.

*Brief Background:
Ellis Hospital is considered a non-profit and tax-exempt institution. Nationwide, there has been much discussion about whether this status is appropriate today. John D. Colombo, a professor of tax law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: "The standard non-profit hospital doesn't act like a charity any more than Microsoft does—they also give some stuff away for free. Hospitals' primary purpose is to deliver high quality health care for a fee, and they're good at that. But that’s not charity, when they price like a business and make acquisitions like a business. They are businesses."

For years, while the hospital has prospered, Schenectady has suffered an economic downturn.

• Schenectady has the highest rates of minority poverty in NYS*
• 71% of Latino children live in poverty. *
• Child poverty rate is almost double that of NYC: 40% vs 23%. *
• Majority of children live in poverty (50.8%). *
• Schenectady is ranked 13th in the country for high rates of child poverty.*
• Schenectady has the highest immigrant poverty rate in New York State. *
*census.gov & timesunion.com

The hospital’s own reports and tax filings show that their contribution to the community through the Community Benefits Program is significantly low; Ellis gives back .08%, the national average is 7%. (Benefits reported on Ellis Hospital Form 990, 2015)

Many of the workers at Ellis are paid poverty level wages and cannot make ends meet. However, when the hospital learned that the workers were organizing a union to gain collective bargaining status, they hired an expensive anti-union law firm. In June, when members and staff of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East were having discussions with Ellis workers near the hospital, they were all met at the hospital door with armed guards, and large dogs.

1199SEIU Vice-President Mark Bergen: “On the issue of being a good community neighbor, one can draw their own conclusions. The fact is that what the hospital doesn’t contribute today, the community pays for tomorrow in the form of higher taxes, rents and increased cost of public assistance programs. And it is nothing less than ironic that under these circumstances, the hospital is opposing the workers’ effort to join a union. We are simply asking them to sign a Fair & Free Elections Code of Conduct, and make a commitment to respecting the rights granted to all workers to form a union without interference. We’re also calling on the hospital administration to not from divert money away from patient care in order to prevent workers from expressing their rights.”

WHAT: Community Rally
Pay Your Fair Share/Respect Our Rights!

WHAT: TODAY, Wednesday, September 27 2 p.m.—4 p.m.

WHERE: Ellis Hospital, 1101 Nott St, Schenectady

WHO: Ellis Hospital Workers, Faith Leaders, Members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and New York State Nurses Association, City and County Elected Officials, including Philip Fields, Gary Hughes, Anthony Jasenski, Rory Flurman, and more.

Philip Fields: “I stand with Ellis healthcare workers, those who are joining 1199SEIU and those in NYSNA, and our community as they fight for fair and equitable treatment. These hardworking caregivers deserve living wages, affordable and comprehensive health benefits and a safe workplace for them, their patients, and our community. We call on Ellis Hospital to do the right thing.”

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1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.