May 9, 2007: Local 743 Secretary Treasurer Richard Lopez has seemingly disappeared while Provident Hospital lays off Local 743 members. Lopez who workers tell us is responsible for Provident has refused to return calls of laid off workers.
Other unions have worked with officials from Cook County, which owns Provident Hospital, to find new jobs for workers set for lay off. Some unions are working with other employers to find jobs for those laid off. But not Local 743! Workers can not even get a hold of Lopez. Laid off worker Diane Davis was frustrated with Lopez’s inaction, “I paid union dues and get nothing for it.”
“Where is my union dues going, “ wondered Yvette Gardner a laid off unit clerk. Some unions fought the lay off. The 743 New Leadership Slate helped organize Local 743 members as well as residents of the Woodlawn community to protest the cuts. We joined nurses, doctors, patients and even Reverend Jesse Jackson showed up on the picket line to protest the cuts. But our union officials were nowhere to be found.
Lopez replaced Diane Strickland as Local 743 Secretary Treasurer. Laid off PCAs and Unit Secretaries have appealed to Strickland’s daughter, a steward at Provident Hospital. These appeals have been met with misdirection. Strickland seems to be helping Lopez avoid doing his job. “Deceit and lies! Misinformation from the union steward, Debra Strickland...She needs to be replaced!” said Verna Swan.
But while the union plays games and just hopes that the workers will go away, there is an economic reality that these workers are facing. “I have a mortgage, car payment and a son in college. For my life style, unemployment will not cut it, “ said PCA Jacqueline Rice. While Lopez lives a six figure life on our union dues money we must try to figure out how to make ends meet.
This Fall Local 743 members will have a chance to replace Richard Lopez and the rest of his sorry crew.Read more at the Local 743 New Leadership Slate website.