Members of Service Employees (SEIU) Local 1199 have voted to strike Lutheran Hospital, one of Cleveland Clinic’s 311 facilities, located worldwide. Lutheran Hospital was established in 1896, but in 1997 — like numerous local hospitals — it was gobbled up by Cleveland Clinic. Lutheran is the only unionized Cleveland Clinic hospital in the city.
Holding a spirited picket line in preparation for a strike, on Aug. 16, workers chanted “No contract, no peace!” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down!” Supporters from SEIU Local 1, Communication Workers of America, Amalgamated Transit Union, United Auto Workers and community organizations joined the line.
Local 1199 recently beat back a National Labor Relations Board-supervised, management-driven decertification vote, retaining the right to represent 200 licensed practical nurses, physical therapy assistants, housekeepers, maintenance workers and others. The union has complained that Cleveland Clinic offers benefits to non-unionized employees that it refuses to provide to union members. These benefits include paid maternity leave, retirement and paid disability leave.
The Lutheran Hospital workers are taking on the biggest hospital chain in Ohio, and they are determined to win.