Sections

Court orders Parkway to pay union

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

The ruling was handed down in Jamaica's Civil Court by Justice Rodger Rosengarten. It was the latest development in a long-running battle between Parkway and SEIU 1199 over the hospital's persistent failure to reimburse what it owes despite being afforded four separate payment plans over a 24-month period, according to the National Benefit Fund's executive director, Mitra Behroozi."Since 2001, Parkway Hospital accumulated enormous debt ... all the while, the fund continued to provide health care coverage to the workers," Behroozi said.The most recent payout plan came in September when Parkway President Robert Aquino signed a "confession of judgment," admitting that the hospital owed $9.9 million to various union funds. A 37-month payment plan was then set up, which Parkway defaulted on, causing the fund on Feb. 8 to enter the confession in court.That resulted in this month's severing of health care coverage to the 90 percent of Parkway employees who are represented by 1199 SEIU, an attorney for the fund said. The attorney said the fund now expects the hospital to pay back the debt in full -- a demand that Parkway officials say could close the hospital down.Parkway spokesman Gerald McKelvey said the union was leaving "little breathing room" for an administration that just recently inherited the immense debt after years of poor fiscal handling from the previous management. "There are longstanding financial problems," McKelvey said, "all of which preceded Aquino," who took over July 1. McKelvey said the new administration has improved since then, with shorter patient turnover and more occupied beds -- both of which are crucial to raising the hospital's earnings.But unlike Parkway's other lenders who have agreed to back off until the hospital can get its head above water, the fund is being unyielding, McKelvey said."It's cutting off its own members," he said, adding that if Parkway shuts down, "625 of the 1199's own members would be out of work." SEIU officials pointed to the repeated attempts by the fund to accommodate Parkway, which they said is in financial straits partly because of the administra­tion's for-profit attitude."Unfortunately, while the administration of Parkway seeks to protect their investment at a high cost to its employees, they leave us no choice but to turn to the courts for remedy," Behroozi said.And unlike the hospital's other lenders, the fund is not allowed under federal law to give out interest-free loans to employers, according to the SEIU attorney.McKelvey said Parkway has started a 60 to 90-day drive to ask various lenders for enough assistance to "adequately put the hospital on better financial footing.""We're hopeful," he said. "The community has made it clear they're behind us staying open and we intend to, if possible. But it's a turn-around situation and we're not turned around at this point."The fund's attorney said she expects the court to decide when exactly Parkway must pay back the debt at the next hearing on April 11. Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

@timesledgernews
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!