Legislators push for healthcare and retirement benefits for Steward Health Care employees

Legislators push for healthcare and retirement benefits for Steward Health Care employees

A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, is advocating for the protection of health care and retirement benefits for workers at hospitals owned by Steward Health Care. This comes after Steward announced plans to sell off all its hospitals following a bankruptcy filing.

In a letter to acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, Markey expressed concerns for the nearly 30,000 workers, with almost 10,000 in Massachusetts, who rely on Steward Health Care for their livelihood. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that workers and retirees receive the benefits they are entitled to and are protected from any further harm resulting from the company’s financial mismanagement.

Steward has stated that it does not expect any interruptions in its hospitals’ day-to-day operations during the bankruptcy process. However, many workers are already facing financial uncertainty and anxiety, with reports of delayed paychecks in Massachusetts.

Markey and his colleagues are urging the Department of Labor to take steps to safeguard workers, including ensuring continued benefits during bankruptcy and in the event of a facility’s closure or buyout. They also want to ensure that health claims are paid throughout the bankruptcy process.

While acknowledging that the responsibility for the crisis lies with Steward and its corporate partners, Markey stressed the need for collaboration among federal, state, and local authorities to protect workers, patients, and communities.

The letter to the Department of Labor was also signed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown, John Fetterman, and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Stephen Lynch, James McGovern, and Seth Moulton.

This story highlights the efforts of lawmakers to advocate for the rights and well-being of workers in the healthcare industry, emphasizing the importance of protecting their benefits during times of financial instability. It underscores the need for cooperation among various levels of government to ensure that workers are not disadvantaged in situations beyond their control.