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MUSC Employees Reach Out To Faith Community About Disparities
6/12/2013 2:08:14 PM

Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference Co-ordinator Jaribu Hill and S.C. Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment Co-chairman Leonard Riley lead protesters during December picket at MUSC

By Barney Blakeney 

Labor organizers and employees at the Medical University of South Carolina met June 8 with clergy and members of the faith community at the International Longshoremen Hall in Charleston in their continuing effort to address unfair practices they say impact them and their ability to perform their duties.

Forty-four years ago hundreds of Black hospital workers protesting employment discrimination at the Medical University of South Carolina walked off their jobs to begin the historic 110-day Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969.

In a May 25 letter reminescent of that event MUSC employees invited members of the local faith community to their meeting the workers saying, “Each of our respective faith traditions teaches that workers should be treated with respect and dignity.”

For over a year the workers have been meeting with MUSC officials to discuss ways to improve patient care, protect their own health and safety and to secure some measure of dignity on the job. Among their complaints have been pay and benefits cuts, low staffing levels, abusive supervisors and an ambiguous system of promotions that pits workers against ?supervisors and sometimes each other.

In December over 100 picketers descended on MUSC to participate in direct action protesting the university’s backtracking on a commitment made to employees required to recertify for their positions.

The workers were required to learn a new electronic patient records system being implemented throughout the hospital or be displaced. A group of negotiators had been working with MUSC officials since earlier in the year to co-ordinate efforts for the employees’ recertification.

The picketers were participants in the Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference held Dec. 7-9 at the Charleston International Longshoremen Association Hall.

Conference co-ordinator Jaribu Hill said the direct action protest was conducted to show support and solidarity for the 54 women who were promised an opportunity to recertify for their positions as medical office assistants and registered medical assistants, but have been denied those opportunities.

S.C. Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment co-chairman Leonard Riley said some of the employees have been displaced and offered jobs in other positions such as shuttle drivers. About half the workers have since left MUSC’s employment. Some had as many as 22 years in their former positions. They have become collateral damage in the process, Riley said.

“The hospital received federal money to implement the system. That money was given to create jobs, not eliminate them or make workers’ lives more difficult,” Riley said. Since January talks with MUSC offici”als have broken down, he said.

“We want to dialogue with MUSC. I don’t know why the meetings have stopped, but in the meantime people are resigning their jobs because of the pressure.”

The outreach to the faith community is an effort to broaden the conversation and draw upon the support of concerned community and religious leaders, Riley said. About 50 people who included clergy, attorneys, employees and interested community residents attended the June 8 meeting. 

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Submitted By: Angela Hamilton Submitted: 8/1/2013
August 1, 2013 South Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment Leonard Riley, Co-Chairman P.O Box 21717 Charleston, South Carolina 29413 Re: Complaint of Workplace Hostile Environment Complaint v. Medical Records Department (Health Information Services) at MUSC Hospital Mr. Riley: Please allow this letter to serve as my complaint of workplace hostile environment against the Medical Records Department (Health Information Services) at MUSC Hospital. My complaint of workplace hostile environment includes the following: Management in the department making up rules and regulations on job performance as they go along thinking that it is alright by “not practicing what they preach and walk the walk but do not talk the talk” which are causing an confusing among our employees job performance, without having an internal stipulate policies and procedures manual guide in place to know how to perform duties approved by their (MUHA) Human Resources Department for employees to obtain in their own possession at all times for proof of work performance, so it want be held against their employees for future reference. Management in the department would whether see their employees work more than allows them to take their 15 minutes break requires by “SC Labor Laws”. Management has shown favoritism in employees on different shifts making one feel that they are better or important than others which causing confusion against one another as meaning “different strokes for different folks”. Management in this department would try to make your job harder for you to keep and for you to use them as your job reference, with employees who they are not fond to in the workplace. The morale of management is to build their employees up just to tear them down. Management places their employees on new job assignments without a policy and procedure manual in place for employees to be train properly to perform their duties appropriately as a setup and underhand function. Management also created jobs to hire conflict of interest within the department to those who do not possess a degree for that particulate position. Management talks down and treats their employees as they are like children in Kindergarten (Black African Americans) of course and when you stand up unto them like an adult, they become intimidated by your response or action and use it against you saying you are insubordination, inappropriate behavior and failure to comply with policy so they can write you up without having any probable cause, which give them a reasoning to terminate you and knowing that the State of South Carolina is a “State At Will” and “Stand Your Ground”, meaning they don’t have to have any reasoning for termination. Management would also underhand and retention months of documentation of work which causing our employees productive workload to be overloaded and backup in the system so they can use it against your work production. Elice Graham the supervisor would hover over employees while they work which causes our employees to feel uncomfortable, irritable and unease in finding reason for disciplinary write-ups to go against co-workers work performance. There have been numerous of turnovers over the years of operation under the same management, Sue Pletcher and Christine Lewis, the veterans of this department and nothing is being done about it all, at their (MUHA) Human Resource Department. There have been several of managers, supervisors and workers that worked here before have come in and out the department like a revolving door and nothing being said and done at all by their (MUHA) Human Resource Department. There are employees that were given unfair wages concerning their qualifications, experiences, and educational background and nothing is being done at all by their (MUHA) Human Resource Department and Payroll Department. There are not any opportunities or any room for advancement for our employees to excel in this department once you have educated yourself through school, management may have feel if they are going to be intimidate by their employees because of the knowledge he or she has gain. Employees who are seeking to transfer out of the department are being block by management, due to larger amount of turnovers happening in this department. For example, I’m one of the employees who have applied numerous of times for a job that I was qualified for, with a degree in the position at Grants and Contract Accounting Department, under the director named Velma Stamp whom I emailed her back in December 2010, about the position telling her how I enjoyed working in the area and was finished with my degree. Mrs. Stamp at the time had posted the position that I had interested for me to submit my application back in January 2011, I once volunteered for that was open for me to pursue my career in. Later after contacting my reference, I was told by my director, Sue Pletcher that she could not afford me to leave out of this department because it will make them look bad yet it well stop me from proceeding on to better heights. No telling what management have place into my file at Human Resources Department involving me seeking to transfer into another department because management are good for slandering employees and having Human Resource Officials to tag employees application on file in case the employee tries to transfer to another department. I also was told by my business administrative, Amanda Elsey, in Medical Records (HIS) Department, that I will not receive credit or incentive raise on my degree in accounting unless I transfer out of this department and nothing is being said and done at all about it by their (MUHA) Human Resource Department. There are employees in this department conspire on each other to management which causing a deviance behavior in the workplace and management is not doing anything about the confusion. There are employees who are afraid to speak up and bringing issues to the forefront in this department about the mistreatment and corruption due job security and job references. My name is put on the “Do Not Rehire List” located in their (MUHA) Human Resource Department. I would like for you to please look into this matter concerning bad micro-management morale such as Sue Pletcher, Director; Greg Bellamy, Manager; Christine Lewis, Manager; Elice Graham, Supervisor in this department. It is hard for employees here to work under this type of management and knowing that everyone needs a job to help support their family when you have management knowing about the economy crisis in our world system today, if you could have imagine it is even harder for our Black African American employees to keep our jobs more know than ever before. I’ve just recently been terminated a month later after sending a copy of this letter to State Representative Wendell Gilliard on November 2011. I do have a copy of my termination statement for you to examine. Now I’m on the unemployment line after the retaliation. I believe that I’ve been wrongfully terminated. This problem is also going on where dominant Black African American employed in such areas, Environmental Services, Maintenance Department and Dietary Department at MUSC Hospital. I believe that racial discrimination still exists strongly at MUSC 40 years after strike being address, and reading The Charleston Chronicle on June 12, 2013 statements on, “MUSC Employees Reach Out To Faith Community About Disparities” still existed. I would also like for you to please see if you could bring in an external investigation into this department. I really appreciate your time and services and would like for you to please investigate this complaint at your earliest convenient and get back with me soon. Thanks and have a great day. Sincerely, Angela Hamilton Concern MUSC Former Employee Law-Abiding Citizen of South Carolina

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