More discharged health care workers take to Broadway picket lines for a second day


Protesters were present most of the day at 12th and Broadway. David Adam

QUINCY — The numbers are growing, but local health care providers won’t disclose how many employees have terminated or suspended because they have refused to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or subject themselves to regular testing.

About 30 people gathered at the corner of 12th and Broadway around noon Wednesday carrying signs. They were receiving cheers from passersby and honks from car horns. The crowd of protesters swelled to around 150 by 5:30 p.m.

A couple of people on the picket line were not employees or former employees. They just wanted to support the workers. Most of the people on the line said they are no longer employed at either Blessing Health System or Quincy Medical Group.

Two workers say they were discharged from QMG and Blessing Health System, respectively

Laurie Rost, formerly a registered nurse at Blessing, was on the picket line today.

“We were just standing up for our rights and freedom,” she said. “The freedoms we surrender today are the freedoms our grandchildren will never know existed.”                            

“(Blessing and QMG) basically gave us an ultimatum to comply with testing, get the COVID vaccination, and we did not do that. They are saying that if we do not comply with either, then we are basically voluntarily being terminated.

“I am terminated, not voluntarily. I told them when I came in yesterday to my work, I clocked in, and my boss met me. She asked me to stay in the break room. She had some papers. I asked if I could have copies of those. She asked me if I wanted to sign them. On the second paper, it said I was voluntarily terminated. I said, ‘I’m not volunteering. I clocked in. I’m here to work. I want to work. I’m not abandoning my patients.'”

Rose said after her boss gave her the paperwork, she was told she would be walked to the time clock. She would need to clock out in hand her badge.

“I told her that I would not clock out because I’m not voluntarily abandoning my patients,” Rost said. “And I’m refusing to give her my badge. So then she left. She called … the head of HR to come and speak with me. After refusing to clock out, they said they would have to clock me out themselves on Kronos (the timekeeping system).”    

“Standing up is not about the mask or testing. It’s about our freedom and our right to choose bodily autonomy. Because if we give those up, then, oh, we’ll never get them back. As far as the test goes, well, I had Bell’s Palsy back in 2009. I know that has been verified that it’s a potential side effect. That’s one thing I know I don’t want again.

“So talking about it as a nurse, the skin being our biggest organ which protects our body, unlike the nasal mucosa that is very sensitive and susceptible to infection, thats how things get in and why we wear a mask over our mouth and nose, and protective glasses over our eyes.  The nasal mucosa is very sensitive. That’s how you can get infected. That’s the whole reason why we’re wearing the mask. There is a gas called ethylene oxide that is used to sterilize the swab. There’s been several people who say they would have migraines or their noses sore afterwards from testing.”

Rost asked if she should I come in Tuesday and was told no, unless I would comply. She was told if she chose to get vaccinated or submit to testing, she would “be welcomed back to work at Blessing.”

Kahn said approximately 53 percent of Blessing’s employees are vaccinated.

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