Nurses picket Northside Medical Center

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Nurses at Northside Medical Center are hopeful an agreement with their employer will happen next week.

Eric Williams, President, Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, said a negotiating meeting is scheduled for September eleventh.

“We’re hopeful to see a change in position with them,” said Williams. “Our goal is to reach an agreement.”

On Saturday, the nurses organized another informational picket in front of their employer.

The more than 400 nurses at the hospital have been working without a contract for 14 months. They rejected the company’s final contract offer in August.

“Our goal is to reach an agreement, we’re there to bargain in good faith,” said Williams. “We want to be be there all day until we either reach impasse or reach an agreement.”

Williams said if an agreement can’t be reached, there is authorization for a ten-day strike notice.

“Our number one concern again is the quality care that we’re able to provide our patients,” said Joyce Shaffer, Northside nurse. “The nurses at the bedside are the biggest advocates for patients, and we want the ability to continue to advocate for our patients.”

Nurses are concerned about a number of issues like patient care and staffing levels.

Northside Medical Center released the following statement following Saturday’s informational picket.

“Northside Medical Center is operating as usual today and our top priority is the care and safety of our patients, employees and visitors. All inpatient, outpatient and emergency services are available.

The O.N.A. at Northside is the only bargaining unit within ValleyCare that has not reached agreement on a new contract even though it has been offered proposals for wages, comprehensive benefits and low volume staffing that mirror the agreements overwhelming ratified by all of the other bargaining units over the past nine months. Employees covered by these contracts include registered nurses, service, technical, maintenance and professional workers. We remain committed to the collective bargaining process and to a positive relationship with our nursing staff and all of our employees.”

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