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SEIU injecting labor issues into hospital sale talks

The Times Tribune, March 21, 2011
As officials examine a proposal to sell three nonprofit hospitals and a number of outpatient clinics to Community Health Systems Inc., members of SEIU Healthcare PA are seeking to make the for-profit company?s past legal and labor relations troubles an issue. Last month, Mercy Health Partners President and CEO Kevin Cook announced plans to sell Mercy Hospital in Scranton, specialty hospitals in Tunkhannock and Nanticoke and a number of outpatient clinics to CHS, a Franklin, TN-based company that operates or leases more than 130 hospitals in 29 states. Officials at CHS and at Mercy have declined to comment on the sale price. SEIU Healthcare PA represents about 950 workers at Mercy Hospital. For months, it has been criticizing CHS through public meetings, billboards and a website. Among the union's concerns is that CHS has had rocky relationships with labor unions at several hospitals, most notably at Wilkes-Barre General.

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