Many hundreds of Hadassah Medical Organization staffers demonstrated in three choice Jerusalem locations – the Prime Minister’s Residence, the Municipality in Safra Square and at the Bridge of Strings at the western entrance to the city on Monday. But all the efforts failed to persuade HMO management to deposit in the bank the full January salaries of all 6,000 employees.
The workers at the two Hadassah University Medical Centers will continue their minimal emergency schedule on Tuesday as no end to the labor dispute is in sight. Management was willing to deposit an average of only 90 percent of January paychecks, with the lower paid getting all of it and the higher paid getting less. This was made possible by the freeze on HMO financial dealings put in place by the Jerusalem District Court last week.
The employees fear that they will get much less pay for February, as HMO has taken little income because few inpatients and outpatients are being treated.
At around 8:30 a.m., Hadassah workers clogged streets around Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s official residence and called for him to intervene in the crisis, even though he was not present.
At 11 a.m., their buses took them to Safra Square, where Mayor Nir Barkat came down with city council members to “hug” them and offer moral support.
“Welcome to the city square,” said Barkat. “I’m here to hug you and all devoted Hadassah workers and to tell [you] that HMO must not be harmed.
“Hadassah... is the basis for medical research and together with the Hebrew University is the promising future for generations of researchers and thousands of workers,” he said.
“Hadassah and Jerusalem have been synonyms since I was a child,” the mayor said.
“It is a source of power and personal security. I was evacuated there as a soldier when I was wounded in Lebanon, and my three daughters were born there,” Barkat added.
Barkat said he was trying to work behind the scenes to bring about a resolution of the crisis caused by Hadassah’s NIS 1.3 billion accumulated deficit and inability to pay salaries in full.
“We are with you until a solution is found.”
The buses were then loaded for the Bridge of Strings, where light rail passengers and vehicle drivers and passengers heard their chants of protest and read their signs held high.
After that demonstration ended, staffers went back to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem to demonstrate against management, but nothing was resolved.