The holidays have come early for a group of former hospital workers in Schuylkill County.
Roughly 80 employees from the now defunct Saint Catherine’s Medical Center near Ashland received their payment after a nearly two year long legal battle.
It was a festive mood at Groody’s Catering Hall in Ashland as folks waved their checks in victory.
After nearly two years of legal battles, they are getting their big payday.
“The union`s been wonderful and I`m glad we belong to it, it`s supported us and tried to do everything good,” said Carol Byrne.
Filling the room were the former union workers from the now defunct Saint Catherine`s Medical Center that abruptly folded in April of 2012, leaving all these people out of work.
“Probably is the worst treatment of loyal dedicated employees,” union representative Mike Fox told the room.
Saint Catherine`s was forced into bankruptcy after a government investigation found unsafe conditions for both patients and workers that shut the facility near Ashland down for good.
“No one dreamed the hospital was going to close and I graduated from Ashland`s Lab School and worked at the hospital for fifty years,” said Byrne.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of these union employees because they were not given the federally mandated 60- day notice they were losing their jobs.
A roughly $400,000 reward has now been divided among these 84 employees.
“There was a lot of really good people here that got thrown out in the cold and finally we get our money before Christmas so Merry Christmas everybody,” said Fred Hughes.
“Most of our employees moved on,” said union president Barry Spieles. “And some of them, we wish we had our jobs back so this is our Christmas present.”
This is the second round of paychecks these folks have won.
In March, they split nearly $200,000 owed in back pay for failing to get their last month’s paycheck after the hospital closed.