Nursing assistants, dietary workers, housekeepers, laundry staff and other non-professional workers at two area hospitals voted Friday to join District 1199C of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, an affiliate of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).
At St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, 168 of the 236 eligible to vote cast their ballots, with 161 in favor and seven opposed.
At Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, the tally was 95 in favor, 60 opposed, with 155 of the 203 eligible employees voting, said Chris Woods, executive vice president of District 1199C.
"Health insurance, wages and respect," are the main issues, Woods said.
At Delaware, "job security is an issue," Woods said.
Earlier this year, Crozer-Keystone Health System, which owns Delaware and four other area hospitals, signed an agreement to be acquired for-profit Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. of Los Angeles.
In the acquisition, Prospect agreed to offer jobs to Crozer-Keystone employees and to honor labor contracts, the company said. A spokesman said Prospect expects to assume ownership on Friday.
St. Christopher's, in Philadelphia's Juniata Park/Feltonville neighborhood, is owned by publicly traded Tenet Healthcare Corp., of Dallas.
Unions have gained traction at both hospitals lately. Earlier this year, nurses at St. Christopher's and at Delaware voted to be represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP).
Tenet also owns Hahnemann University Hospital. Delaware Memorial's sister hospitals are Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Community Hospital in Chester, Springfield Hospital in Springfield, Delaware County and Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park.