The labor union representing paramedics and emergency medical technicians working for Hennepin County Medical Center is suing the hospital over what it alleges are filthy and crowded conditions in the women’s locker room.
The Hennepin County Association of Paramedics and EMTs has said in a court filing that “there has been some improvement” in the locker room, which is used by 26 women.
“However,” the filing continues, “the toilets have remained stained, unsanitary and inadequate. The drain near the toilets is inadequate, and [it] is infested with sewer bugs and flies that invade the entire locker room.”
The downtown hospital said in a statement that improvements to the facilities are underway.
“This summer we completed construction to expand and remodel the locker room for female paramedics to, among other things, provide lockers for each paramedic with storage space, improve the lighting, and update the cleaning process,” the statement said. “We are completing one or two additional details, but we are confident that the new facility addresses the concerns expressed.”
The suit, filed last week in Hennepin County District Court, says the union has been negotiating with HCMC for more than a year over these conditions but that management has not been acting in good faith in those talks.
Conditions in the locker room are far too cramped, the union contends. Sometimes two or three female paramedics are using the same locker, when they are supposed to have their own, the lawsuit says.
Also, the union alleges, the lockers are not big enough for all of the paramedics’ gear, and the locker room gets too crowded frequently at various hours of use.
As for the shower, the suit says there is only one shower head, the water is too cold to use and lighting is poor.
The union wants HCMC to adequately clean the locker room, make repairs and relieve the crowding, according to the court filing.