This summers announcement that Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital will be closed down has caused paroxysms of concern in Laurel, Maryland. The densely populated Laurel SMSA will lose its hospital and gain perhaps, an ambulatory care center. Obviously, such a change is cause for distress and the question becomes is there anything that can be done about it?
Dimensions Healthcare Systems, the hospitals owner has already laid off employees to achieve the closure but now faces a lawsuit from unionized hospital workers. Service Employees Local 1199 has filed a suit in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the hospital closure. Locall 1199 has also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
While it is far too early to predict success or failure, it does seem 1199 has a number of interesting arguments that may at least slow the process down. Obviously Laurel community health should be the preeminent concern but the road to keeping the hospital open may take some interesting directions.