Nurses meet with lawmakers

Nurses at Northside Hospital have been without a contract for nearly a year.

Their union representatives said the sticking points in negotiations remain wages and staffing levels.

Several employees met on Monday with state legislators about concerns. Employees said they’re happy with hospital owner Community Health Systems making a $29 million investment in the building, but wish they would put money into the workforce.

“Who wants to go to a job that has no level of consistency,” said State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard. “You show up and they send you home. I don’t know anybody who works in that kind of environment.”

Negotiations between the two sides are scheduled for July 16.

“That is our concern that we won’t be able to attract and maintain nurses at the bedside and deliver quality care that we’ve been known for for so many years,” said nurse Linda Warino.

Trish Hrina, vice president of marketing and public relations for ValleyCare Health System of Ohio, emailed the following response:

“Northside Medical Center is committed to efficient operations and practices that support the delivery of safe, quality care for our patients. The Ohio Nurses Association at Hillside and four other bargaining units representing nurses and other employees across ValleyCare Health System of Ohio have within the last year ratified labor agreements with terms similar to those we have proposed to the Ohio Nurses Association at Northside. Each of these agreements includes flexibility in scheduling for the needs of our patients, which follows a standard practice across the hospital industry. Our proposal also includes wage increases and comprehensive benefits, including health insurance.”

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