[original post 11/21/2010]

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year in the lovely Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, when the trees are gorgeous hues of crimson and gold, and the sweet smell of hot apple cider is in the brisk autumn air.  As you walk in and out of little village colonials and saltbox houses donning  fall mums and pumpkins on their porches, you’re hit with that waft of burning fireplace aroma – the sort of scene that gives you that comfy feeling of peace and contentment.

But turn the corner and that picturesque scene is disrupted by a tiny sea of purple t-shirts and angry faces.  Yep, you got it – it’s the SEIU!   And they’re not in the holiday spirit, apparently.

Pocono Medical Center, a mid-sized, not-for-profit community hospital nestled in the Pocono Mountains near East Stroudsburg University, has been in SEIU’s crosshairs for months.  The union has been demanding a closed shop at the hospital, despite the desires of other workers, and has since made it the crux of its contract negotiations. They were out protesting last week, making their demands known.  (Not many from Pocono Medical Center participated in the protest, so they resorted to recruiting some nearby friends to join them).

For those not familiar with what a “closed shop” is in union terms, this means that all of those employees would be required to be a member of the union and to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

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