According to Steve Kramer, executive vice president of 1199SEIU, the hospital laid off 87 technical, professional service, maintenance and clerical workers in early July, after having let go of 19 other workers just a couple months ago.
“We were told that there would be absolutely no more layoffs,” Kramer said.
At a rally outside the hospital last week, Kramer said the layoffs would leave the emergency room and other critical areas understaffed.
He offered alternative ways for the struggling hospital to balance its books, including a hiring freeze in other departments and a reduction in overtime.
Helen Schaub, a policy and legislative director for 1199SEIU, said another way the hospital could alleviate some of its financial stress is to partner with other hospitals in Brooklyn.
She referenced a 2016 report commissioned by the state Department of Health (DOH) that recommended Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center merge into one regional health system.
"The people of Brooklyn need and deserve an efficient and viable health care system that is responsive to their health care needs," said DOH commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, “one that embraces reforms focusing on quality, efficiency and value.”
According to the report, the four hospitals would require a total of $310 million in state subsidies to operate in 2017. That number is expected to grow to $405 million by fiscal 2021.
The state would also commit $700 million in capital investment in the system, and another $700 million to build a community network of providers.
“Wyckoff Heights could still benefit from being a part of that system,” Schaub said. “From our perspective, it's about maintaining control. Wyckoff is essentially taking the opposite path and it's resulting in people losing their jobs."