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"We feel like expendables": Temple Hospital workers protest due to staffing issues, contract

Temple University Hospital workers hit the picket line due staffing issues and current contract
Temple University Hospital workers hit the picket line due staffing issues and current contract 02:42

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --  A picket line formed outside Temple University Hospital on Friday. Nurses and other union members say they are overworked and underpaid.

Their contracts expire at the end of the month. 

"We have signs out here that say that we're heroes," Carlo Aviles, the President of TAP union, said. "Funny if you ask anybody picketing today we don't feel like heroes. We feel like expendables."

On Friday, frontline health care workers dressed in blue scrubs and held bright red signs to voice their frustration.

"The work has been grueling," Mary Adamson, an RN and president of TUHN, said. "We walk through fire during the pandemic and now we continue to work short-staffed every day. The most difficult thing for short staffing as a nurse is not being able to provide patients what they need at the time they need it."

The picketers are nurses and allied professionals with Temple University Hospital.

They're calling this an informational picket – to warn the public and hospital leaders about quality of care and safety concerns as they negotiate for a new contract.

"Why is this important? We need the quality of care for the largest poorest community that we service here in Philadelphia," Aviles said. "No other hospital does what Temple does, no other hospital did what temple did during the pandemic."

Their contract expires Sept. 30. 

According to the workers, over the last three years the hospital's workforce has declined by 15% while its patient intake has grown.

Union leaders say this should concern everyone. 

"I need the community to know if you don't support us now, this hospital might be the next Hahnemann," Aviles said. "Doesn't matter how much money they're making, without the proper staff to take care of patients, what kind of services are we gonna provide our community?"

The nurses and allied professionals attending the informational picket are either off from work Friday or on a break. 

CBS3 reached out to Temple Hospital about the protest, but we have yet to hear back. 

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