PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pregnant nurses at St. Christopher’s Hospital are crying foul over their maternity plans. Amanda Gilson knew she wanted time off when her son was born, so she started banking her vacation and sick pay as a NIC-U nurse at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in August 2018.
“I wound welcoming my little boy on Nov. 25 and then about two weeks later I learned that all my PTO had been depleted,” Gilson said.
That’s because St. Christopher’s had just been purchased by Drexel and Tower Health after the former owners declared bankruptcy.
The accrued time off banked by nurses there was not being honored by the new owners.
“Currently as of Monday, I’m unpaid,” Gilson said.
Maria Plano is an ICU nurse at the hospital and vice president of the union that represents the nearly 500 nurses there.
“Unfortunately, our pregnant nurses are running out of time. This is why we started the GoFundMe page,” Plano said.
Plano started the GoFundMe page to help pay for bills and expenses for the 10 or so nurses who will soon be taking maternity leave without paid time off.
“It’s going to go directly to the nurses,” Plano said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Tower Health says they empathize with employees who lost their PTO as a result of the bankruptcy.
“In an effort to address this concern, Tower Health has provided every employee at St. Christopher’s with a year’s worth of paid-time-off that they can access immediately. We made this same offer to the nurses’ union negotiating team as part of contract negotiations and it was rejected,” Corporate Communications and Government Relations Director Richard Wells said.
“Because they made concessions around it,” Plano said. “They want us to give up a lot of our contract in order to get what they gave everyone else free and clear.”
Plano says the nurses’ union continues talks with Tower Health and Drexel. She’s hoping the GoFundMe page at least allows those preparing to welcome a new family member some comfort as new parents.
“We are not going to be bullied into this and we’re going to raise the money for our girl ourselves,” Plano said. “We’re going to take care of our own.”