Sunday, October 13, 2013

Uncertainties at PHLB

          It's going to be a week since I last worked. Two days after that, the new owner of the hospital took over and  I got a call from a coworker telling me I should pick up whatever belongings I had at the hospital because I didn't have to report for work anymore, and that Pacific Hospital would be paying us the rest of our scheduled shifts. Well that was hard to believe, so I sent an email to one of the human resources representatives asking what the status was of the personnel not hired by the new company. I never got a response, so I patiently waited till the next day to call them up, knowing that it must be a very busy time for them as well while dealing with the transition. The information I received from the person I talked with was that we won't be getting paid for the unworked hours the rest of the month, but to feel free to use our accrued Paid Time Off (PTO) to cover it. So now we have two different messages and that is where the uncertainty starts. I sent another email to a different HR representative and the response I got was this:

Unfortunately I have no info yet either, we have attorneys working on it. This is pretty much what we are saying...
"We do not yet have an answer as to what will happen between now and 10/29. You are still an active employee and we are working out how you will be paid, or if you may be asked to report to work in another area helping with the closing of PHLB. You will be contacted when we know more. Do not go to work at College Hospital as you do not work for them. In the meantime, please make sure we have your correct info in ADP self-service so that we can reach you when we have more info."
As to the layoff info, that will be in your packet on 10/29 when you get laid off."

          At least she responded. That was very disconcerting because now it freezes us in our tracks and makes us uncertain on how to proceed. When will our health insurance expire? Can we buy COBRA coverage? When can we apply for unemployment? When can we move our 401K savings to another investment company? Are we getting paid at all other than what is owed us in accrued PTO? How much are we exactly getting? I'm sure my other unhired coworkers have their own similar concerns. One is even considering getting a lawyer and using the WARN act letter given to us as evidence that we aren't supposed to be laid off until October 29. Does that mean we have to get paid for not doing anything? Basically we are not supposed to return to work because we are not employees of the new owner and we are personae non gratae at the jobsite. The problem was that the information about not reporting for duty was only by word of mouth with no official word from the powers that be (whoever that is). You had to individually call your former supervisors who were hired by the new owner to make sure that it was true. I wonder how many people actually showed up to work and were turned away. After all, that would have made them trespassers. In my case, I managed to empty my small locker and take the contents home along with a file sorter I bought 10 years ago and was using to make new patient admission chart packs. I had to foresight to stick some name labels on it 10 years ago to be able to prove that it belonged to me. At the time I picked up my belongings, the psych unit was somewhat in a state of chaos because patients were being moved from one unit to another and there were not enough staff to make an orderly transition. The day shift was still waiting for the night shift to relieve them half an hour after they were supposed to clock out. Needless to say, I didn't stay long to find out what else could go wrong because it ceased to be my concern since I don't work there anymore. I was only there to retrieve my personal belongings.
          What does the immediate future hold? The immediate future is about 3 more weeks and the answer is -  I don't know.

          It's unfortunate that they didn't rehire highly organized people who would have been able to ease the chaotic situation they find themselves in now. I'm not saying it wouldn't have been chaotic anyway but at least not as much. It may have been better if College Hospital rehired most employees then incrementally laid some off as the transition became more stable. Just sayin'...

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