A group of employees at the Long Beach Medical Center are suing the hospital for money they say is owed to them, as the facility remains closed since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs.
Michael Berman, the attorney for the hospital
workers, filed a civil suit in New York State Supreme Court in Mineola on Dec.
9, according to NBCNews.com. Berman said:
"For some of these employees, they didn't take a vacation for 30 or 40 years. They didn't spend time with their families. And after decades of not doing that, they're not getting paid for it. And if you ask me, it's salt on the wound."
NBC did not indicate the dollar amount of the suit, nor the number of workers named in it. Prior to Sandy, LBMC employed 1,200 workers, but staff has since dwindled to 430 workers.
Sharon Player, an LBMC spokeswoman, told NBC it
is unclear when the workers will be repaid due to the complexity of a merger
the hospital is presently negotiating with South Nassau Communities Hospital in
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Meanwhile, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) told NBC that the medical center would file for bankruptcy, which will pave the way for the merger with South Nassau, although hospital officials have said previously that such statements are premature as negotiations continue.
LBMC, a 162-bed hospital, closed after Sandy when 10 feet of water flooded its basement and wrought millions in damages. Last June, the hospital completed all of the major work to repair the facility, but the state Department of Health blocked it from reopening, citing an annual loss of more than $2 million since 2008 and the hospital’s failure to produce a sustainable business plan to meet the community’s needs.
A public forum on the status of the hospital will be held at the Long Beach Library, 111 W. Park Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Beach to Bay Central Council, a local civic group, organized the forum that is expected to include representatives from the City of Long Beach and the offices of State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Weisenberg.